Swiss bank UBS has been preparing for the takeover of Credit Suisse for three years
Swiss bank UBS Group's takeover bid for rival Credit Suisse was completed in a matter of days in March 2023, but preparations began at least three years before the company collapsed. This is what Bloomberg writes.
UBS Chairman Colm Kelleher, who took office in April last year, obtained feasibility studies for a takeover of Credit Suisse from his predecessor Axel Weber that dated back to at least 2020. And as early as 2023, he brought in merger consultants from US bank Morgan Stanley to "strengthen planning" for a future deal. Bloomberg insiders said the project was so secret that Morgan Stanley did not know what their colleagues in Switzerland were doing.
Careful preparation by UBS led to the bank being ready for decisive action in mid-March as the banking crisis, which had begun in the US, spread to Europe. When the shares of Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-largest bank, plummeted to record lows on 15 March, representatives of banks Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase & Co, flew to Zurich for talks to sign agreements.
A few days later, UBS announced that it had signed documents to buy Credit Suisse. The deal amounted to three billion Swiss francs ($3.2 billion) and was concluded with a valuation significantly lower than the bank's capitalisation at the auction the day before.
Colm Kelleher told the UBS annual shareholder meeting on April 5 that the integration of Credit Suisse would take three to four years, not including the winding down of the investment bank. Even with insurance against adverse consequences in the form of government support, the merger of banks involves "huge risk", he added.
Earlier it was reported that one of the most affected parties from the Swiss bank deal was Saudi National Bank, which lost about $1 billion of its investment in Credit Suisse after its value plummeted. The Saudi lender had an initial investment of 1.4 billion Swiss francs at the end of 2022.