Bloomberg News

Baer Says Sarasin Is Good ‘Fit’ After Newspaper Reports Bid

October 12, 2011

(Updates with Baer comment in second paragraph.)

Oct. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Julius Baer Group Ltd. said Bank Sarasin & Cie. AG would be a “good strategic fit,” after a newspaper reported it had made an offer for the Basel, Switzerland-based private bank.

“It would be a good strategic fit as the business models are similar,” said Jan Bielinski, a spokesman for Zurich-based Julius Baer, who declined to comment on speculation that the bank has made a bid. “The cultures are similar because of the heritage of family ownership.”

Sarasin, a private bank controlled by Rabobank Groep NV, rose 1.4 percent to 28.5 Swiss francs in Zurich trading, valuing the company at 1.77 billion francs ($1.98 billion). Baer has made a non-binding bid for Sarasin, Handelszeitung reported as the market closed, citing an unidentified Zurich-based investment banker.

Baer Chief Executive Officer Boris Collardi said in July that a takeover in Switzerland could lead to “cost synergies.” The country’s fifth-biggest wealth manager is seeking acquisitions to compete with larger rivals such as UBS AG and building branch networks in Europe and Asia as clients reassess the benefits of cross-border accounts.

“We don’t comment on such rumors,” said Franziska Gumpfer-Keller, a spokeswoman for Sarasin, which has 101.6 billion francs of assets under management. Kees Nanninga, a Utrecht, the Netherlands-based spokesman for Rabobank declined to comment.

Sarasin CEO Joachim Straehle said in July that he favored a management buyout after first-half profit increased by 20 percent. Rabobank has 68.6 percent of Sarasin’s voting rights and a 46.1 percent equity stake.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is involved in the bidding process, Handelszeitung reported in the pre-release of story to be published in tomorrow’s edition of the Zurich-based newspaper.

--With assistance from Maud van Gaal in Amsterdam. Editors: Dylan Griffiths, Steve Bailey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Broom in Geneva at gbroom@bloomberg.net Carolyn Bandel in Zurich at cbandel@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthias Wabl at mwabl@bloomberg.net


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