Advertisement

UPDATE 1-Credit Suisse moves towards carve out of investment banking arm

(Adds detail)

FRANKFURT, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Credit Suisse has taken another step towards creating a standalone investment bank by buying Michael Klein's advisory boutique, the bank said on Thursday, but gave no update for getting more investors on board.

The Swiss lender is reviving the First Boston investing banking brand and carving out the business with veteran banker Klein at the helm, as part of a comprehensive revamp announced in October to focus on wealth management.

The bank, battling to recover from a series of scandals and heavy losses, said it had agreed to buy the investment banking business of M. Klein & Company LLC, for $175 million.

Klein's boutique will receive a note that pays annual coupons and converts into CS First Boston shares at a discount, the bank said, without elaborating.

Credit Suisse did not provide details on other investors that may back CS First Boston. The Swiss bank has said it is seeking $500 million from investors for the business and CEO Ulrich Koerner in October said the bank already had a commitment from an investor without giving a name.

Credit Suisse has been marketing CS First Boston to investors as a "super boutique" and sees revenue eventually more than doubling to as much as $3.5 billion, Reuters reported on Monday.

In a sales pitch to investors, dated January, the bank said it aspired to surpass the $2.5 billion net revenue target it set out only last October for the unit, taking into account the business will be independent and assuming "a normalized market environment."

Still, given the "challenging market backdrop", Credit Suisse expects its investment banking division - which includes some activities that may not move across to CS First Boston - to report a loss in the first quarter.

The bank said revenue from advising on deals dropped 44% to 169 million francs ($184 million) in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared with the same period in 2021 as M&A activity froze.

"The question is whether CSFB has strong client relationships," Ismail Ertürk, senior lecturer in banking at the University of Manchester, told Reuters before the earnings.

"Boutique sounds good but relationships are extremely important."

Credit Suisse said it would keep control over the structure of CS First Boston.

The deal which is expected to close by June, should have an impact on Credit Suisse Group’s CET1 ratio, a measure of capital strength, of less than 10 basis points, the firm said.

($1 = 0.9190 Swiss francs) (Writing by John O'Donnell and Stefania Spezzati; Editing by Elisa Martinuzzi and Mark Potter)