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ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer BAER.VX said on Monday it will buy 19.9 percent of Italy's Kairos Investment Management as part of a deal between the two firms to create a leading onshore wealth management group in Italy.
Following regulatory approval, expected in the first half of 2013, the parties have also agreed to set up a new private bank in Italy by separately applying for a banking license after the closing of the transaction.
"Thanks to our strategic participation, we will increase our presence in the domestic Italian wealth management market," said Baer CEO Boris Collardi in a statement. "This move underlines our commitment to further grow and develop our business in Italy."
Baer said the parties will decide whether Julius Baer will increase its strategic participation in Kairos after a few years.
Kairos manages around 4.5 billion euros ($5.7 billion) and employs around 115 staff. Baer managed assets of 184 billion Swiss francs ($194 billion) at the end of August 2012.
Last month Baer said it planned a "significant reduction" of overlapping positions after buying Bank of America Merrill Lynch's (BAC.N) international wealth management business, reducing the combined staff of about 5,700 by 15-18 percent.
Reporting by Martin de Sa'Pinto; Editing by Richard Pullin