BlackRock explored rival Credit Suisse’s takeover bid

BlackRock has crafted a competing bid for Credit Suisse that would trump a Swiss central bank-approved plan for UBS to acquire its struggling rival, five people with knowledge of the matter told the Financial Times.

The US investment giant has evaluated a number of options and spoken to other potential investors, people briefed on the matter said. Among the options were offers for only parts of the business.

However, BlackRock said on Saturday that it “is not involved in any proposed acquisition of all or part of Credit Suisse, and has no interest in doing so.”

Larry Fink, co-founder and chief executive of the $8.6 billion fund manager, was leading the offering, according to people familiar with the matter. Fink previously worked at First Boston, the investment bank of Credit Suisse.

BlackRock was working informally with senior bankers at Perella Weinberg to explore a potential offer, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told the FT. However, BlackRock halted work on Friday as they did not see an attractive option.

The firm has long been one of Credit Suisse’s investment banking biggest clients, particularly its fixed-income trading desk. A deal, particularly for its US arm, would be an opportunistic way to bring business capability in-house, one of the people said.

Any deal would face significant regulatory hurdles in Europe and the United States.

The Swiss National Bank and regulator Finma favor a Swiss solution to resolve the crisis at Credit Suisse, according to people familiar with the matter.

Flight announced Friday that the SNB and Finma are orchestrating negotiations between Credit Suisse and UBS in an attempt to restore confidence in the country’s banking sector. The pair explored a transaction that could result in a full or partial combination between the banks.

The talks came days after the central bank was forced to provide a 50 billion Swiss franc ($54 billion) emergency line of credit to Credit Suisse.

However, that support failed to halt a plunge in the bank’s share price, which fell to record lows after its biggest investor ruled out providing more capital and its chairman admitted that he continued to experience an exodus of wealth management clients.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Laura Noonan and Brooke Masters

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