The long-anticipated unification of two Swiss banking titans, UBS and Credit Suisse, is scheduled to conclude in a week. This colossal merger, fostered by a government-backed salvage operation earlier this year, is set to birth a behemoth in the banking industry, boasting a balance sheet that tips the scales at $1.6 trillion.
Preparing for a monumental merger
The impending closure of the deal is hinged on the affirmation of the registration statement by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
This statement pertains to the shares that are to be transferred as part of the deal, among other closing conditions, according to a Monday statement from UBS.
The conclusion of the takeover will mark the assimilation of Credit Suisse Group AG into UBS Group AG. The repercussions of the impending merger were noticeable in pre-market activities in Switzerland, with UBS shares witnessing a 1.1% spike and Credit Suisse shares rising by 0.7%.
Michael Klien, an analyst from Zuercher Kantonalbank, stated, “We deem the closure of the takeover as an essential step towards initiating a protracted integration process and ensuring that things get done.”
He further emphasized that despite the noticeable shift in UBS’s risk profile, the scenario still held promising potential for investors.
UBS’s new trajectory post merger
In a deal finalized on March 19, Switzerland’s premier bank consented to a payment of 3 billion Swiss francs (equivalent to $3.37 billion) along with an agreement to shoulder up to 5 billion francs in losses.
This agreement was for its smaller rival, which was on the brink of collapse after a sharp decline in customer confidence. This precarious situation stirred Swiss authorities into action to circumvent a more extensive banking crisis.
Once the merger is complete, the combined entity will oversee a whopping $5 trillion worth of assets, placing UBS in a leading position in key markets. It would usually take years for the bank to achieve such growth organically.
The combined workforce will stand at an impressive 120,000 employees worldwide, despite the foreseen job cuts aimed at cost reduction and synergizing operations.
Post-merger, the Credit Suisse shares will be delisted from the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange, as per UBS. Furthermore, under the all-share takeover plan, for every 22.48 shares they held, Credit Suisse shareholders will be awarded one UBS share.
Tackling challenges and looking ahead
The acquisition has not been without its challenges. Sergio Ermotti, UBS CEO, cautioned against presuming the deal to be a merger and forewarned about the “painful” decisions on the horizon.
As the bank navigates the complexities associated with the acquisition, considerations have been made to delay quarterly results until late August, according to the Financial Times.
Ermotti remains undeterred despite the complexities. His optimism is fueled by the belief that the merger presents a remarkable opportunity not only for the shareholders and employees but also for the clients and Switzerland’s financial services industry.
The question remains, what will become of Credit Suisse’s Swiss retail bank, considered the “crown jewel” of the group? Despite potential savings from integrating it into UBS, concerns linger over the scale of the combined entity and potential job cuts.
Regardless of these uncertainties, Ermotti maintains a staunch commitment to full integration and remains undistracted by sentiment or nostalgia.