It’s official: UBS bought Credit Suisse in a historic bailout.
The agreement was led by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) and signed after an intense weekend. The so far 2 domestic rivals will become one. UBS will now decide which Credit Suisse companies want to stay with the bank and which rival managers can play a key role in the new UBS.
There is still a lot of uncertainty, but one thing is certain: UBS did not want to bail out its rivaland Credit Suisse he wasn’t thrilled with the idea either.
Announcements and official statements about the operation are full of technical and financial jargon, but between the lines you can see barbs and innuendos.
For example, the first words about the deal came from the Swiss National Bank, which advanced that UBS had “announced” the purchase of Credit Suisse. Until then, UBS had not done this.
The statement included details of the extraordinary terms of the agreement, stating the following:
“With the purchase of Credit Suisse by UBS, a solution has been found to ensure financial stability and protect the Swiss economy in this exceptional situation.”
Shortly afterwards, Credit Suisse released its statement explaining that “Credit Suisse and UBS merge”.
A fusion! Not a rescue operation, a merger! The statement highlighted the following:
“Credit Suisse and UBS reached this Sunday a merger agreement after the intervention of the Swiss Federal Department of Finance, the Swiss National Bank and the Swiss Authority for Supervision of the Financial Market (FINMA). Operation”.
The use of the expression “after the intervention of” makes it clear that this agreement was not a decision by Credit Suisse. And that “UBS will be the surviving entity” slides that it is a purchase and not a merger.
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This statement gave more clarity about the role played by the Swiss government, as it was explicit that the deal was closed after the Swiss authorities asked the 2 companies to “close the operation to restore the necessary confidence on the stability of the Swiss economy and its banking system”.
Credit Suisse’s statement concluded with a few words from its chairman, Axel Lehmann.
“Given the extraordinary circumstances, the announced merger is the best possible option. These have been challenging times for Credit Suisse, and while the team has worked tirelessly to resolve many legacy issues and execute on its new strategy, we are forced agree today on a solution that offers lasting guarantees”.
At that point, UBS, the bank carrying out the purchase, had not released any statements. Typically, the buyer is the one calling the shots when reporting a transaction. In that case, UBS had already lost the lead.
When his turn came and UBS released its statement, it completely discredited the Credit Suisse report. The headline read: “UBS buys Credit Suisse.”
It was Colm Kelleher, president of UBS and a veteran of financial crises, who delivered the coup de grace. In his statement, he stated the following:
“The purchase is attractive for UBS shareholders, but to be clear, as far as Credit Suisse is concerned this is an emergency rescue. We model an operation that will preserve the value of the business and limit our exposure.
Credit Suisse said it was a merger. UBS, which was an emergency rescue. The UBS statement also confirmed that talks had been initiated by the Swiss authorities.
Even the photo shoot between the heads of both entities was marred by an awkward moment when Kelleher waited too long to shake Lehmann’s hand (the handshake ended up happening).
For UBS, taking over Credit Suisse’s banking, asset management and wealth units promises potential benefits. But the future of Credit Suisse’s investment banking business remains uncertain, as promised by UBS move most of your rival’s positions to a non-core operation that would be managed downwards.
[Nota: El trabajo de fusionar muchos negocios recaerá en Iqbal Khan, que es el responsable de la gestión de patrimonios de UBS y antes trabajó en Credit Suisse. En 2019, antes de que UBS anunciara su fichaje, el director de Operaciones de Credit Suisse contrató detectives para espiarlo…].
Later, on a call with analysts, Kelleher and UBS CEO Ralph Hamers defended the deal, making it clear they didn’t want to go it alone.
“It’s a historic day for Switzerland and a day, frankly, that we hoped you wouldn’t comeKelleher wailed.