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UBP to buy Coutts

Royal Bank of Scotland has agreed to sell Coutts International to Union Bancaire Privée, the family-owned Swiss private bank. The formal announcement of the transaction is expected to be made later. UBP signed the deal and is expected to pay about $600m-$800m for the non-UK operations of Coutts. The Geneva-based group, which was founded by, and is still owned by, the de Picciotto family, has been growing rapidly after a string of acquisitions, including most recently the international private bank of Lloyds Banking Group. RBS last year unveiled plans to split Coutts in two, keeping the UK part, which is one of the world’s oldest private banks, while selling the international arm. However, the auction has been delayed as bidders tried to talk the price down because of the recent appreciation of the Swiss franc and the political storm over alleged tax evasion at the private banking operations of HSBC. UBP faced competition from Credit Suisse and a consortium of Société Générale of France and DBS of Singapore.

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