Switzerland: UBS completes Credit Suisse takeover

The biggest European banking deal in 15 years has been finalized. The merger with UBS puts an end to Credit Suisse's 167-year history.

Credit Suisse (photo: DW)
Credit Suisse (photo: DW)


Swiss banking giant UBS completed its takeover of embattled rival lender Credit Suisse, Switzerland's second-largest bank, on Monday.

UBS had bought Credit Suisse in March for 3 billion Swiss francs (€3.09 billion, $3.3 billion) in an emergency rescue deal after the latter institution had undergone a series of scandals amid criticism of poor risk management and money outflows in the hundreds of billions.

The new group will oversee $5 trillion of assets. The two banks currently employ 120,000 people worldwide, although UBS has already said it will reduce that workforce.

What is the background to the merger?

UBS and the Swiss government signed the necessary agreement on guarantees of losses from the takeover, which could amount to up to 5 billion francs, on Friday.

Authorities in Switzerland facilitated the takeover to prevent failing customer confidence from bringing about the collapse of Credit Suisse, which could have caused a wider banking crisis and damaged the country's reputation as a top financial hub.

UBS and the Swiss government have offered assurances that the takeover will benefit shareholders and not negatively impact the taxpayer.

What has UBS said?

A statement from the bank published in several newspapers said that "UBS has completed the acquisition of Credit Suisse today, crossing an important milestone."

The takeover marked the "beginning of a new chapter of our joint journey" for UBS and the Swiss and global financial industry, the statement said.

The CEO of UBS, Serbio Ermotti has, however, warned of "bumpy" months to come as his bank works on integrating Credit Suisse, something UBS says could take up to five years.

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