Intesa to buy 69% stake in Swiss private bank REYL

FILE PHOTO: The Intesa Sanpaolo logo is seen in Milan, Italy, in this January 18, 2016 file photo. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini/File Photo

ZURICH (Reuters) - Intesa Sanpaolo ISP.MI has agreed to buy a 69% stake in Switzerland's REYL & Cie, the two companies said on Monday, in a deal that will merge the Italian bank's Swiss private banking business with its Geneva-based rival.

Intesa, which has a business model geared towards fees from asset management and insurance, is carrying out the acquisition through Fideuram, its private banking division.

“The partnership ... confirms the choice of Switzerland as the headquarters of the international private banking activities of Fideuram ... and adds significant scale to its existing presence in the country,” the companies’ joint statement said.

The deal will bring together REYL and Banque Morval, which Intesa bought in 2019. The combined group will have 400 employees and assets under management of more than 18 billion Swiss francs ($20 billion).

The deal “will enable Fideuram ... to strengthen its international private banking activities, especially in promising growth areas and to continue playing a leading role in the ongoing consolidation of the Swiss financial sector,” the companies said.

Intesa this year kicked off a new wave of European banking consolidation by snapping up smaller rival UBI in a 4 billion euro paper-and-cash deal to create the euro zone’s eighth-largest banking group.

Societe Generale analysts said in a note last week the UBI deal had beefed up Intesa’s wealth management business but further growth would be desirable. International expansion in wealth management could counter domestic over-exposure, they said.

The terms of the Swiss deal, which is expected to be completed in the first half of 2021 pending regulatory approval, were not disclosed.

($1 = 0.9147 Swiss francs)

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi in Zurich and Valentina Za in Milan; Editing by Michael Shields and Jane Merriman