UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, and Sao Paulo-based Brasil Plural SA Banco Multiplo are in talks to buy BNP Paribas SA’s Brazil wealth-management unit for about $50 million, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.
BNP, France’s largest bank, is also negotiating with other potential buyers and no deal has been reached, said the person, who didn’t name the other companies and asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The business has about 7 billion reais ($3.47 billion) under management.
European banks such as Paris-based BNP are selling assets amid a squeeze in dollar funding and to meet stricter capital requirements known as Basel III mandated by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. BNP sold about 10 percent of its Latin America loan holdings in the past year, or $1.2 billion, Louis Bazire, the bank’s head of corporate and investment banking for the region, said last month.
UBS has been seeking a Brazilian bank license for the past two years, and the Zurich-based company still hasn’t received approval from the central bank.
Plural, founded as an asset-management and financial-advisory firm in 2009 by former partners at Banco BTG Pactual SA, received approval to operate as a bank on Aug. 23. In May, the company said it would acquire the Brazilian asset-management firm Geracao Futuro Corretora de Valores SA. The deal hasn’t yet been approved by the central bank.
Officials at BNP, Zurich-based UBS and Plural declined to comment on the negotiations and asked not to be identified in keeping with company policies. Exame magazine reported Sept. 27 that BNP was seeking to sell its wealth-management business in Brazil.
The UBS wealth-management divisions represented 50 percent of the company’s total worldwide revenue in the first half of 2012. The business in the Americas alone accounted for 23 percent.
Brian Hull, vice chairman of the Americas wealth-management division, said last month he’s confident the business can achieve a $1 billion pretax profit. The division, headed by Robert McCann, reported pretax profit of $420 million in the first half of 2012.