SINGAPORE/HONG KONG Oct 3 Standard Chartered
PLC, DBS Group Holdings Ltd and HSBC PLC
have submitted first round bids for Societe Generale's
Asian private bank valued at $600 million, people
involved in the sale told Reuters.
SocGen, France's second-largest bank by market
capitalisation, is selling the unit as part of wider
restructuring to cut costs and boost profits, Reuters previously
reported. Its 15-year foothold in Asia makes it an attractive
buy, sources said.
Credit Suisse and at least one U.S. financial
institution are among 10 firms placing preliminary bids for the
unit that manages about $13 billion worth of assets, said the
people, who asked not to be named because the details are not
SocGen is the third major global financial institution to
seek the sale of its Asian wealth arm in the last five years
after Bank of America Corp and ING Groep. Rapid
growth in the lower end of the wealth market - serving people
with at least $1 million to invest - favours private banks with
wider networks, pressuring smaller players who tend to target
only the very rich.
SocGen's private banking unit is small compared with those
of larger competitors in Asia's wealth management market such as
Citigroup Ltd and UBS AG, which each manage $200
billion in assets.
Some bids will not be more than $300 million, the people
said, showing the gap in price sought by seller and suitors.
The French bank is restructuring its asset-gathering
operations after recently combining them with its corporate and
investment bank under Head of Corporate and Investment Banking
Earlier this year, it sold its Japanese private bank to
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp for an undisclosed sum.
JPMorgan is advising SocGen, the people said.
Spokespeople for SocGen and JPMorgan declined to comment.
Officials at DBS, Credit Suisse, HSBC and Standard Chartered
also declined to comment.