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UBS to buy Credit Suisse for $3.2 billion to avoid further bank turmoil
Banking giant UBS is buying Credit Suisse for $3.2 billion without the approval of shareholders to prevent the latter’s collapse and further turmoil in global banking, according to Swiss President Alain Berset.
The deal was described by Berst as “one of great breadth for the stability of international finance."
The Swiss Federal Council, a seven-member governing body that includes Berset, passed an emergency ordinance allowing the merger to go through without the approval of shareholders.
Credit Suisse Chairman Axel Lehmann said the focus is now on the future of 50,000 Credit Suisse employees, 17,000 of whom are in Switzerland.
Colm Kelleher, the UBS chairman, highlighted his bank’s “conservative risk culture” in a subtle swipe at Credit Suisse’s more aggressive gambles on bigger returns. He said the combined group would create a wealth manager with over $5 trillion in total invested assets.
The agreement comes in the wake of the failure of two big American banks last week, which prompted a broad, panicked response from the US government to avert any future bank panics.
Christine Lagarde, president of the European Central Bank, praised Switzerland's officials for their rapid action, calling it “instrumental for restoring orderly market conditions and ensuring financial stability.”
Although UBS is purchasing Credit Suisse, UBS officials stated that they want to sell off assets or scale back the bank in the months and years to come.