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Credit Agricole picks JPMorgan for Banque Saudi Fransi sale -sources

DUBAI, March 8 French bank Credit Agricole has picked JPMorgan to help in a potential sale of its 31 percent stake in Banque Saudi Fransi, valued at nearly $2.4 billion, sources familiar with the deal said. The sale would be an opportunity for a foreign buyer to gain a foothold in the kingdom's banking sector, in which 12 commercial lenders share total assets worth around 2.22 trillion riyals ($592 billion).

Credit Agricole's move comes as banks around the world are shedding minority stakes in other banks as new global rules mean they now have to hold more capital against those holdings.

Credit Agricole and Banque Saudi Fransi declined to comment, while JPMorgan was not immediately available to comment.

The sources declined to be identified because the details of the deal are not public.

Bloomberg earlier reported that Credit Agricole was weighing the sale of its stake in the Saudi lender. ($1 = 3.7503 riyals) (Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh, Saeed Azhar and Tom Arnold; additional reporting by Maya Nikolaeva in Paris; Editing by Jason Neely and Alexander Smith)

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