REFILE-RBC, Credit Suisse eye BofA's non-US wealth arm-sources
(Refiles to fix grammar in headline)
SINGAPORE/HONG KONG May 17 (Reuters) - Royal Bank of Canada and Credit Suisse are among the suitors seeking to bid for the non-U.S. wealth management businesses of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, sources told Reuters, in a deal that could be worth around $2 billion.
Swiss bank Julius Baer is also looking to bid for part of the BofA wealth businesses on sale, the sources said. Reuters reported last month that BofA put its non-U.S. wealth division up for sale, a deal that includes units in Asia excluding Japan, Europe and the Middle East and Latin America.
The auction is another case of consolidation in the wealth management industry and comes as BofA is trying to re-focus the bank after its plunge in value following the financial crisis.
Bank of America, which sources say has received non-binding bids for the units, is selling the wealth division because it is too small and has failed to produce significant profits. The non-U.S. business manages about $90 billion of an estimated $2 trillion that the BofA wealth division oversees globally.
The BofA auction is the biggest deal in the wealth management industry since ING Group sold off its private banking assets in Europe and Asia in 2010 for about $1.9 billion.
Some earlier estimates had put the BofA deal value at as much as $3 billion, though sources said this week that a $1.5 billion-$2 billion price tag may be more realistic.
The first round bids closed earlier this month and Bank of America is in the process of notifying the shortlisted bidders, one of the sources said.
The sources declined to be identified because the bidding process is not public. Spokespeople for Julius Baer, Credit Suisse and Royal Bank of Canada declined to comment.
Bank of America also declined comment. (Reporting by Saeed Azhar in SINGAPORE, Denny Thomas in HONG KONG; Additional reporting by Katharina Bart in ZURICH, John O'Callaghan in SINGAPORE and Cameron French in TORONTO; Editing by Michael Flaherty and Jeremy Laurence)
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