Canadian Imperial Most Likely Buyer of CI Financial, Analyst Sedran Says

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is the likeliest buyer of CI Financial Corp. should Bank of Nova Scotia sell its minority stake in the money manager, CIBC World Markets analyst Robert Sedran said.

CIBC, Canada’s fifth-largest bank by assets, may consider a purchase of CI because the lender has “a renewed emphasis on retail and wealth” and is focused on domestic expansion, Sedran said today in a note to clients.

Toronto-based CIBC would have C$122 billion ($122 billion) in fund assets if it combined its money management unit with CI Financial to form the largest fund manager in the country, Sedran said.

Spokespeople at CIBC and CI didn’t immediately return phone calls seeking comment.

Bank of Nova Scotia, which owns about a third of Toronto- based CI, is less likely to increase its stake after it agreed in November to buy the shares in DundeeWealth Corp. it doesn’t already own for about C$2.3 billion. CI Financial has a market value of C$6.2 billion.

The purchase of DundeeWealth by Scotiabank “makes a transformational acquisition like CI unlikely over the next year, and indeed reduces the need to do the deal at all,” Sedran said.

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