Broker Marex Spectron in talks to buy JPMorgan's warehousing arm: report

SINGAPORE Mon Aug 5, 2013 10:35am BST

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) - London commodities broker Marex Spectron is in talks to buy the metals storage unit owned by JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM.N), the Times of London reported.

This news comes less than two weeks after the Wall Street bank said it would seek "strategic alternatives" for its physical oil, gas, power and metals trading division amid a crackdown by U.S. regulators on banks owning commodities storage.

Marex Spectron -- a ring dealing member of the London Metal Exchange -- and JPMorgan declined to comment on the report.

JPMorgan's metals warehousing firm, Henry Bath & Sons, is based in Liverpool, Britain and is nearly 220 years old. It operates 72 metal warehouses from Baltimore to Busan.

"Not everyone has deep enough pockets to pick up these assets. Marex would have the financial muscle to do something," said one industry source, who did not want to be named as he is not authorized to speak to media.

Analysts have been divided on what would be the best option for JPMorgan's physical oil, gas, power and metals trading division -- with some suggesting a piecemeal sale and others saying it would gain the most from selling the division intact.

JPMorgan has said it may seek a joint venture, spin-out or sale, but has not said whether it will seek to keep the division whole or sell it in parts.

(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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