* HSBC Holdings, in the biggest cross-border takeover in European banking, agreed to buy Credit Commercial de France for $10.5 billion to boost business with wealthy investors and companies. The purchase of France's sixth-largest bank would give HSBC 1 million more clients and "makes us a serious player in the euro zone for the first time" said Sir John Bond, HSBC Chairman. London-based HSBC, which once functioned as the central bank of Hong Kong, is expanding in Europe and the U.S.

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