Banco Francu00e9s headquarters, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Photo: Sking via Wikimedia Commons

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton represented a group of underwriters in a $400 million equity offering by BBVA Banco Francés S.A., a leading Argentine bank, that will allow the bank to take advantage of growth opportunities in the Argentine financial sector. Davis Polk & Wardwell advised BBVA Banco Francés.

The transaction consisted of a global equity offering of 65.2 million shares in the U.S. and abroad, in the form of 21.7 million American depositary shares, totaling $344.5 million, with a concurrent offering in Argentina of 3,201 shares totaling about $17,000.

BBVA Banco Frances S.A. also completed a preemptive and accretion rights offer to existing Argentine shareholders, which resulted in the subscription of 788,070 shares, totaling approximately $4.2 million. The shareholders had a preemptive right to buy shares to maintain their proportional stake in the venture.

The total 66 million shares priced July 18 at $15.85 per American depositary share, or $5.28 per average share, for a total of $348.7 million and closed July 24.

The underwriters Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and BBVA exercised an option to buy another nearly 9.8 million shares on July 26 that raised another approximately $51.7 million. That transaction closed July 31.

BBVA Banco Francés S.A., in Argentina’s financial system since 1886, is a subsidiary of global financial group BBVA Group.

The Cleary corporate team consisted of partner Andrés de la Cruz of Buenos Aires, associates Manuel Silva of New York and Janeth Lopez of Buenos Aires and international lawyer Adriana Camaño in Buenos Aires. Senior attorney Elizabeth Chang in New York advised on FINRA matters. Tax advice was provided by partner Erika Nijenhuis and associate Anthony Yanez, both of New York.

The Davis Polk team included partner Michael J. Willisch and associate Thomas K. Wiesner II, both in Madrid, and former summer law clerk Jennifer Leather in Northern California. The tax team included partner John D. Paton in and associate Veronica Orecharova, both in London.