UBS races to seal Credit Suisse deal as soon as late April, sources say

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Logos of Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse are seen in Zurich
Logos of Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse are seen in Zurich, Switzerland March 20, 2023. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse//File Photo

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - The Swiss authorities and UBS Group AG are racing to close the takeover of Credit Suisse Group AG within as little as a month, according to two sources with knowledge of the plans, to try to retain the lender's clients and employees.

But combining Credit Suisse into UBS could take much longer, potentially months, because the deal needs approval from regulators in tens of countries, the people said, seeking anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.

Spokespeople for UBS and Credit Suisse declined to comment.

"UBS has made a full commitment to the takeover of Credit Suisse... Now it is extremely important that both parties do everything possible that the takeover will be successful," Thomas Jordan, Swiss National Bank Chairman said on Thursday, adding the next two weeks would be crucial.

"This is absolutely necessary and we got all the commitments from both parties that they will do everything for this takeover to be successful."

Asked for more precise details on when the deal could close at the same media conference, the vice chairman declined to comment.

"We are waiting for final regulatory approvals across the globe so we will complete this deal as quickly as we can," UBS Chairman Colm Kelleher said on Sunday. "It will be weeks, short months to get this deal effectively closed."

The longer the deal takes to close, the harder it will be for Credit Suisse to hold on to its business as the uncertainty erodes confidence in the lender.

Bank of America's electronic stocks desk had halted trading with a desk at Credit Suisse that uses computer-led strategies, an email seen by Reuters on Monday said.

Bloomberg News reported on Thursday that Wall Street banks and European firms are lifting hiring freezes to lure staff from Credit Suisse.

Additional reporting by Andres Gonzalez and John Revill; Editing by John O'Donnell and Barbara Lewis

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Stefania is an award-winning reporter who covers European banking at Reuters. Based in London, she chronicles all things finance, breaks news and digs deep into the world's biggest banks. Born in Puglia, Italy, Stefania started working as a financial journalist in Milan for MF-DowJones, a newswire backed by Dow Jones and Milano Finanza. Prior to joining Reuters, Stefania spent about a decade at Bloomberg News, in Milan and London. In 2022, she co-led an investigation which through data journalism exposed how over 130 million pounds in taxpayer-backed loans went to firms with dubious credentials. The story won at the British Journalism Awards in crime and legal affairs journalism. Contact: +44 7500 684790