UBS Said to Seek Brazilian Bank Acquisition as License Application Stalls

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  • Posted on January 30, 2012


    UBS AG (UBSN), which sold its Brazilian lending unit in 2009, is trying to buy another as it steps up efforts to restart an investment-banking business in the country, a person familiar with the company’s plans said.

    UBS has sought a license for the past two years to open its own business trading stocks and bonds, investing proprietary funds, and offering derivatives and syndicated loans, according to the person, who asked not to be named because the firm’s strategy is private. Regulators haven’t granted permission as they try to spur larger banks to purchase smaller ones with existing licenses instead.

    The Swiss company sold its Pactual bank unit to billionaire Andre Esteves, the former head of the business, for $2.5 billion in 2009, less than three years after buying it. It still has a private bank and a mergers-and-acquisitions business in Brazil, with more than 200 workers.

    UBS, Switzerland’s biggest lender, agreed in April 2010 to buy Brazil brokerage Link Investimentos, and still hasn’t received approval from the central bank for the deal, according to the person, who declined to name potential bank acquisition targets.

    “There could be newcomers seeing an acquisition as a way to speed up the process of entering the market,” Anthero Meirelles, the central bank director, said in an interview in May.

    A spokesman for UBS declined to comment.

    To contact the reporter on this story: Cristiane Lucchesi in Sao Paulo at clucchesi5@bloomberg.net

    To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net

    Bloomberg/AC