(Updates with statement from Veneto Banca in second paragraph.)
March 12 (Bloomberg) -- UBS AG, Switzerland’s biggest bank, is in talks to buy Banca Intermobiliare di Investimenti e Gestioni SpA of Italy as it seeks to expand in private banking, according to a person familiar with the discussions.
Talks on the transaction with owner Veneto Banca Scpa are ongoing, said the person, who declined to be identified because the negotiations are private. Veneto Banca said it’s considering seeking a partner for Banca Intermobiliare and its private- banking operations, according to a stock-exchange statement. Officials for UBS in Zurich and Milan declined to comment.
Banca Intermobiliare jumped 9.6 percent to 1.95 euros in Milan, before trading was suspended by the exchange. The company has a market value of 305 million euros ($396 million). The talks were reported earlier today by newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore.
Chief Executive Officer Sergio Ermotti says his goal is to recoup the assets UBS lost in 2008 and 2009 by growing faster than the market and he hasn’t excluded acquisitions. Based in Turin, Italy, Banca Intermobiliare oversees about 14 billion euros in assets and has branches in more than 30 Italian cities.
The Italian wealth manager said last week that it’s reviewing a report by the Bank of Italy into the reserves it set aside for deteriorating credits that are backed by real estate. The company is considering the appropriate precautions, which will probably have a negative impact on its year-end results, it said.
--With assistance from Sonia Sirletti in Milan. Editors: Simone Meier, Jon Menon