(Corrects paragraph 7 to say that the bank is targeting 600,000 clients in total, not 600,000 extra clients)
PARIS, March 18 (Reuters) - Societe Generale, France’s No. 2 listed bank, said it would offer to buy out minority holders of its online bank brand Boursorama as it seeks to grow the business despite France’s weak economic outlook.
SocGen said on Tuesday it would file an offer of 12 euros ($16.71) per share through French AMF regulator for the 23 percent that is held by minorities - a premium of 22 percent versus Boursorama’s Monday closing price of 9.83 euros, and worth a total 242 million euros ($337 million).
If more than 95 percent of minority investors tender their shares, SocGen will proceed with a mandatory delisting.
Shares of Boursorama were suspended from trading at the company’s request Tuesday morning. SocGen’s shares opened up 0.2 percent, at 44.43 euros, versus a flat STOXX Europe 600 banks index.
SocGen already owns 56 percent of Boursorama, with Spain’s Caixa Group owning 21 percent. The takeover offer is not aimed at Caixa’s shareholding.
European lenders are ramping up investment in online banking as they seek to compete with low-cost upstarts and a drop in footfall at traditional bank networks. SocGen’s domestic arch-rival, BNP Paribas, last year launched a Europe-wide online bank called Hello Bank in Germany, Italy and elsewhere.
Boursorama, which offers online broking, banking and other financial services, reported an annual loss in 2013 but is targeting 600,000 French clients this year from 505,963 at end-2013. ($1=0.7180 euros) (Reporting by Lionel Laurent; Editing by Sophie Walker and Andrew Callus)