(Adds comments, details on expansion plans)
By Elzio Barreto
RIO DE JANEIRO Feb 26 Brazilian investor Luiz Cezar Fernandes, who founded two of the country's largest investment banks, said on Thursday he is in advanced talks to buy Dresdner Bank's Brazil operations.
Fernandes expects to close the deal early next week. The transaction is valued at between $90 million and $100 million, he told Reuters in an interview.
"We are in the final stages," Fernandes said. "There are new opportunities coming up for a true Brazilian investment bank. Foreign banks are leaving a lot of room for us to operate because they have a lot of problems abroad."
Fernandes was one of the founders of Brazilian investment bank Garantia, which was sold to Credit Suisse CSGN.VX in 1998, and Pactual, taken over by UBS UBSN.VX (UBS.N) in 2006. He made a fortune selling his stakes in the banks and now lives in a farm outside of Rio de Janeiro, where he heads a holding company called Marambaia that has stakes in agribusiness and Internet companies.
The new firm would be called MTT Bank and will focus on the restructuring of Brazilian companies affected by the turmoil in global financial markets and on mergers and acquisitions. Fernandes expects to nearly double the number of employees at the bank to about 150 people by year-end from 78 now.
"There will be a lot of mergers in sectors like pharmaceuticals and sugar and ethanol," he said. "There will be a lot of opportunities for an independent investment bank."
Germany's Commerzbank (CBKG.DE), which bought Dresdner from Allianz (ALVG.DE) in a deal completed last month, said it was reviewing a number of Dresdner Bank's global business activities.
"Our Brazil activities are part of this review," it said in a statement. "However there is nothing to announce or comment on in terms of future plans at this stage." (Editing by Phil Berlowitz)