Friday's Headlines: Chinese-Western partnerships boom

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The recent announcement by DealBook that the Chinese brokerage house Citic Securities will buy a 20% stake in the brokerage and research arms of Crédit Agricole for $374 million is but the latest in a string of deals between Chinese and Western financial firms.

Morgan Stanley said today that it was creating a joint venture with China Fortune Securities, while Citigroup and Orient Securities said this month that they, too, would form a joint venture.

Western banks are actively growing their Asia-Pacific footprints in response to clients increasing cross-border strategies, the article states.

Other news:

Private-equity companies may help fill a forecast $30 billion shortfall in funding for the shipping industry over the next three years as banks restrain lending. [BusinessWeek]

Muddy Waters Research says Chinese reverse-merger companies are shams that need to be exposed. [NY Times]

Archstone is being shopped around to private equity companies and others by Lehman Holdings, BofA and Barclays. [Reuters]

Cerberus Capital is looking to raise a private equity fund of about $4 billion.[Bloomberg]

Wells Fargo Advisors and a group of 3,000 women were awarded a $32 million settlement for a class-action gender-discrimination suit. [WSJ]

BofA, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan chase were penalized by the administration for their performance in the mortgage modification program. [WSJ]

Lloyds says it could spin off more than 600 of its branches and list them as a new British bank if an auction of the outlets fails. [Telegraph]