BlackRock assembles rival Credit Suisse takeover bid


BlackRock is working on a rival bid for Credit Suisse, aiming to trump a plan blessed by the Swiss central bank for UBS to acquire its struggling rival this weekend, several people with knowledge of the matter told the Financial Times.

The US investment giant is evaluating a number of options and working with other investors, said people briefed about the matter. It could decide to bid for only portions of the business.

BlackRock has communicated its intent to Credit Suisse, which is in advanced discussions with UBS about a transaction that could result in a full or partial combination.

There is no guarantee a transaction will be agreed and any agreement would face significant regulatory hurdles in Europe and the US.

Larry Fink, co-founder and chief executive of $8.6tn money manager BlackRock, is driving the bid. Fink used to work at First Boston, Credit Suisse’s investment banking business.

BlackRock has long been one of Credit Suisse’s biggest investment banking clients, particularly its fixed-income trading desk. A deal, especially for its US arm, would be an opportunistic way to bring trading capacity in-house, one of the people said.

The FT reported on Friday that the Swiss National Bank and regulator Finma are orchestrating negotiations between Credit Suisse and UBS in an attempt to shore up confidence in the country’s banking sector. Their intervention came days after the central bank was forced to provide an emergency SFr50bn ($54bn) credit line to Credit Suisse.

However, this support failed to arrest a slide in the bank’s share price, which has fallen to record lows after its largest investor ruled out providing any more capital and its chair admitted that it was continuing to suffer an exodus of wealth management clients.

Credit Suisse declined to comment. BlackRock did not immediately provide a comment.

This is a developing story. More to follow . . .

Additional reporting by Laura Noonan

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