Brazil's BTG Pactual: New Bidder for BSI Bank Enters the Stage

Brazil's BTG Pactual bank is back on track. But still wants to sell its Swiss private-banking unit BSI as research by revealed. And: a new bidder has emerged.

The turmoil by which Brazil's BTG Pactual bank was engulfed following the arrest of CEO André Esteves took a surprising turn to the better in December. But the situation for its daughter BSI has remained delicate.

BTG has decided to stick to a decision taken in the midst of the Esteves-affair, sources close to the negotiations told The bank wants to get rid of the private bank from the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland – after finally completing its acquisition in September 2015, some four months ago.

No «Fire Sale» Needed

This is news, because the same sources in December reported that it was after all unclear whether BTG wanted to sell BSI. BTG Pactual didn't want to comment the report when confronted by

What seems to be clear is that there is no need for a so-called «fire sale», a divestment to quickly shore up the bank's liquidity. BTG seems to have steered into calmer waters and secured its liquidity for the coming 12-month period. Hence there's no pressure to hastily getting rid of BSI for a fraction of its value.

The sources said that there had been «very serious» bids for BSI and newspapers reported about interest from amongst others Credit Suisse, Julius Baer, J. Safra Sarasin and EFG International.

New Bidder From Brazil

A new bidder has now emerged: Banco Itaú, like BTG based in Brazil, is said to have shown an interest in BSI. The institute has had its own private bank in Switzerland since 2010 and has been repeatedly mentioned as a possible buyer in the ongoing wave of mergers and acquisitions.

The bank may also be an acceptable buyer for Finma, the Swiss financial market supervisor, who is said to prefer an institute already regulated in Switzerland. Which is the case with Banco Itaú.

Meanwhile, BTG Pactual is clearly hoping to get as much money as possible from the sale of BSI thanks to the M&A-specialist Lazard. Hopes that today look justifiable as BSI is one of the few independent Swiss private banking.



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