Julius Baer on Wednesday bought the Swiss private banking operations of Dutch lender ING for SFr520m ($507m) – its first acquisition since spinning off its fund management business. The acquisition of ING Bank (Switzerland) will add SFr15bn in funds under management, consolidating Baer’s position as Switzerland’s third-largest private bank after UBS and Credit Suisse. The deal will expand Baer’s roughly SFr150bn of client assets – reduced since the split last week with its GAM fund management business – by about 10%.
Julius Baer surprised investors on Wednesday with plans to split its private banking and fund management businesses into separate listed companies. The move was seen as paving the way for the disposal of fund management, concentrated in the GAM fund of hedge funds business, and leaving the company as a “pure play” private bank. Analysts speculated that GAM Holding, the fund management group, could be a takeover target, while Julius Baer was a likely consolidator in private banking.
Julius Baer, the Swiss private bank, fell as much as 40 per cent in morning trading.
And that’s really not much of a surprise – given the set of mixed 2008 results it released this morning. Read more
Intesa Sanpaolo and Julius Baer have entered into preliminary talks that could lead to the Italian group acquiring part of the Swiss private bank’s big asset management business. A spokesman for Baer said the bank “did not comment on market rumours”. However, the discussions are known to involve GAM, the highly profitable asset manager bought by Baer in September 2005 as part of a package of assets from UBS.