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France's public lender CDC to take over Orpea - Liberation

PARIS (Reuters) - France's public lender, Caisse des Depots et Consignations (CDC), has reached an agreement with Orpea's creditors to take over the indebted nursing home group, a French newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The deal would value Orpea at 1.15 billion euros ($1.25 billion) and would make CDC its majority shareholder with 50.2% of its stock, Liberation reported, without saying where it got the information.

Spokespeople for CDC and Orpea declined to comment on the deal.

Orpea's shares fell by around 93% in 2022 following the publication of a book in France that outlined possible malpractice at its care homes.

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CDC, which currently has no stake in Orpea, has been seeking to put together a rescue package with creditors. It made an offer to take over the company earlier this month, but talks failed on Jan. 19.

Orpea said on Monday that discussions between the company, a group of French third-party investors led by CDC, and creditors holding about half of its 3.8 billion-euro unsecured debt had resumed.

According to the Liberation report, Orpea's creditors have agreed to cancel 70% of 3.5 billion euros worth of debt as part of the accord. The newspaper said that the deal would be formally approved by CDC on Wednesday.

Any transaction of this significance must be approved by CDC's supervisory committee, presided by and composed of lawmakers, a spokesperson for the financial institution said.

The committee has not met yet and the term sheet of the deal is still being discussed, the CDC spokesperson said. Orpea will make an announcement if a deal is formally reached, the CDC spokesperson said.

Orpea's shares, which were suspended from trading on Tuesday, have recovered by around 15% since the start of 2023.

($1 = 0.9236 euros)

(Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Additional reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Sharon Singleton)