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DBS in advanced talks to buy SocGen private bank

Singapore’s DBS Group Holdings is in advanced talks to buy Societe Generale’s Asian private bank, a deal that would help boost its private banking assets by almost a third. It was unclear how much Southeast Asia’s biggest lender would be willing to pay for the bank, but previous estimates from financial sources have valued it at between $300 million and $400 million. A successful deal would make it the third major transaction in Asia’s competitive private banking landscape since the global financial crisis, as smaller players struggle to generate enough revenue to support expensive bankers and rising regulatory costs. DBS managed $46 billion in private banking assets at the end of 2012 and that could rise by another $15 billion if it takes over SocGen’s Asia unit. That would make it Asia’s sixth or seventh largest private bank in an industry dominated by UBS and Citigroup with assets of more than $200 billion each. A DBS spokesperson said the bank’s stance that boosting wealth management is one of its key strategic priorities but declined to comment on the possibility of talks. DBS and ABN AMRO had emerged as front runners after five suitors were short-listed in the final round of bids, the sources said. It was not immediately clear if ABN AMRO was still in the picture.

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