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DBS, ABN Said to Make Final Bids for SocGen’s Asian Private Bank

DBS Group Holdings Ltd. and ABN Amro Group NV made final offers for Societe Generale SA’s private banking business in Asia, said two people with knowledge of the matter.

Bids submitted yesterday have valued the unit at $300 million to $400 million, one of the people said, asking not to be identified as the process is private. Societe Generale, France’s second-largest bank by market value, has been selling assets from Japan to North America and is eliminating jobs as it tries to boost profitability.

The total wealth of millionaires in the Asia-Pacific region may top that of their peers in North America as soon as next year as a resurgent Japanese economy boosts investor returns in the country, according to a report by Cap Gemini SA and Royal Bank of Canada published Sept. 25. Societe Generale’s Asian private banking business oversees about $13 billion of assets.

Spokesmen for DBS, ABN Amro and Societe Generale declined to comment on bidding for the unit.

DBS Chief Executive Officer Piyush Gupta said this month the lender is interested in private banks with an Asia-focused business, without naming any specific takeover targets. Southeast Asia’s biggest bank said Nov. 12 it agreed to sell its remaining stake in Bank of the Philippine Islands for S$850 million ($681 million) to Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC Pte and Ayala Corp.

ABN Amro, the state-owned Dutch lender, said in March it is seeking to lower its reliance on the Netherlands by expanding its international operations in areas including private banking. The Dutch government said in August that it plans to sell ABN Amro, formed after the collapse of Fortis five years ago, in an initial public offering in 2015.

DBS runs Asia’s ninth-largest private bank, with assets under management of $46 billion at the end of 2012, according to a Private Banker International study published last month. ABN Amro ranked 16th in the region with $15 billion of assets.

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