UBS nears deal to take over Credit Suisse
UBS is on the verge of acquiring Credit Suisse as part of a global and Swiss effort to restore trust in the banking system. To expedite the sale, regulators have offered to waive customary shareholder votes. Credit Suisse has seen as much as $10 billion in outflows per day, and there are fears that it will go bankrupt next week if the situation is not addressed.
As two systemically important banks in Switzerland and around the world, a merger of the two could result in additional supervision and capital fees. Furthermore, any such merger is likely to result in significant job cuts, in addition to the 9,000 positions that Credit Suisse has already pledged to eliminate. The Swiss authorities are expected to reach a preliminary agreement before Monday’s start date.
However, a source told Reuters that the talks have hit a snag, and the merger of the two banks could result in the loss of 10,000 jobs. UBS is requesting guarantees to cover the costs of closing down specific areas of Credit Suisse as well as the possibility of legal fees.
Credit Suisse has a significant Swiss retail arm, the status of which remains a point of contention in the negotiations. It is estimated to be worth $10 billion and has the potential to create a domestic banking behemoth with roughly 30% of the country’s domestic loans and deposits. Combining it directly with UBS would give UBS prized businesses like wealth management clients in Asia and the Middle East, but it would also bring less desirable units like Credit Suisse’s troubled investment bank.
UBS has long been regarded as a component of any state-backed solution for Credit Suisse, whose balance sheet is roughly half the size of UBS’s total assets of $1.1 trillion. A full-scale takeover would provide UBS with prized businesses within Credit Suisse, but it might also include less desirable units, such as Credit Suisse’s troubled investment bank. Furthermore, this could destabilize UBS’s current strategy and undermine its reputation among investors.
Other financial institutions are looking into whether they can buy parts of Credit Suisse or back bids, and large asset managers have long coveted some of the bank’s investing businesses. Despite several offers, Credit Suisse executives have consistently rejected them, claiming that asset management was a critical component of the company’s operations.
Credit Suisse’s move towards state aid came after other banks and large investors withdrew from dealing with the Swiss lender. Other investment firms stopped trading with the bank in the fall as its long-standing issues worsened. The decision to use UBS to save Credit Suisse represents a 180-degree turn from nearly 15 years ago, when UBS received a bailout from Switzerland after being burdened with billions of dollars in toxic assets in its US operations.
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