(Adds quote, context on potential sale)
By Guillermo Parra-Bernal and Lisa Jucca
SAO PAULO May 14 Grupo BTG Pactual SA, Latin
America's largest independent investment bank, is in exclusive
talks to buy wealth management firm BSI from Italian insurer
Generali SpA, according to a statement Wednesday by
The announcement came at the end of a Generali board meeting
prior to the Italian company's release of first-quarter earnings
Sao Paulo-based BTG Pactual, controlled by billionaire
financier Andre Esteves, is seeking the purchase of a wealth
management company to add more fee-related activities to the
fast-growing banking empire he has built since 2009.
Asset and wealth management revenue have become a bigger
portion of the bank's revenue over the past two years, partly
because of the units' strong performance in the wake of weak
capital markets activity in Brazil.
"Generali has granted exclusivity to Banco BTG Pactual ...
to conduct negotiations relating to the potential acquisition of
the entire share capital of BSI," the Generali statement said.
Generali, Europe's No. 3 insurer, is pushing ahead with a
plan to sell 4 billion euros ($5.48 billion) of assets to
bolster its capital base. BSI, a wealth manager, has been on the
block for a number of years but had failed to draw sufficiently
BSI, a wealth manager headquartered in Switzerland's
Italian-speaking Ticino region, could be worth around 2 billion
euros, some analysts have said, making it a key piece of
Generali's asset disposal strategy.
Generali, Italy's biggest insurer by premiums, wrote down
217 million euros from BSI's value in the final quarter of the
year in a bid to pave the way for a sale.
Under the leadership of Chief Executive Mario Grego,
Generali is shedding non-core assets to squarely focus on its
insurance business. The company has already sold assets worth
more than 2 billion euros, including sales in the United States
($1 = 0.7294 euros)
(Editing by Eric Walsh)