It's a done deal.
Julius Baer, the leading Swiss private banking group, has agreed to acquire Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management business in a deal worth around $880m. The unit has 2,000 employees, including more than 500 financial advisers.
Bloomberg quotes Ray Soudah, head of MilleniumAssociates AG, an advisory firm for banking mergers based in Zurich and London, who said: 'We’re absolutely at the bottom in market valuation terms, so in that respect it’s an ideal time to buy a private-banking business'.
Daniel J. Sauter, Chairman of the Julius Baer Group, said: 'This transaction represents a rare opportunity to acquire an international pure-play wealth management business of significant size and will add substantial scale to our business in Europe and in key growth markets in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Due to its strong presence in strategic growth markets and its business characteristics, Merrill Lynch’s International Wealth Management business is an excellent strategic, cultural and geographic fit for Julius Baer'.
Boris F.J. Collardi, CEO of the Julius Baer Group, added: 'This acquisition brings us a major step forward in our growth strategy and will considerably strengthen Julius Baer’s leading position in global private banking by adding a new dimension not only to growth markets but also to Europe. The compatibility and complementarity of the two business models, once integrated, will create a new reference in private banking and a powerful offering for all clients of the combined businesses. In addition, it will reinforce Julius Baer’s attractiveness as an employer of choice in the private banking industry. We very much look forward to working with our new colleagues who will undoubtedly enrich our corporate culture'.
The sale does not include Bank of America’s Japanese joint venture, Mitsubishi UFJ Merrill Lynch PB Securities or international wealth management offices based in the United States.
The transaction will have an immaterial impact on Bank of America’s balance sheet, financial results and capital ratios.
image: © Valerie Everett