Swiss private-banking group Julius Baer Group Ltd. (JBAXY.PK,JBARF.PK) is reportedly close to a deal to buy Merrill Lynch's international wealth management business outside the US from Bank of America Corp.(BAC: Quote).
According to CNBC Friday, the agreement to buy Merill Lynch's international business could be announced on or before Monday, August 13.
In July, Baer had confirmed talks with Bank of America to buy the overseas wealth-management unit. Baer would likely have to shell out about $2 billion for the acquisition. Merill Lynch's international unit manages about $90 billion for clients in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.
For Julius Baer, an acquisition of Bank of America's overseas wealth-management unit would significantly boost its presence in Asia and Latin America.
Julius Baer, which manages assets of roughly $187 billion, is Switzerland's biggest private bank. The company is among the 11 banks targeted by the U.S. authorities investigating alleged assistance in helping their citizens evade tax.
Meanwhile, Bank of America Bank has been cutting jobs and selling non-core business units as part of its efforts to reduce costs and bolster capital.
In early May, reports indicated that the US banking giant was planning to eliminate around 2,000 positions in its investment banking, commercial banking and non-US wealth-management arms, which were expanded significantly after the purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co. in 2009. This cut was in addition to last year's announcement of eliminating 30,000 jobs over three years in the consumer banking divisions.
A sale of the non-U.S. wealth-management unit would enable the bank to raise additional cash.
BAC is currently trading at $7.72, down 0.06%, on a volume of 37 million shares on the NYSE.
JBAXY is currently trading at $7.30, up $0.13 or 1.81 percent OTC.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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