UBS gains EU antitrust approval to acquire Credit Suisse

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – UBS on Thursday won unconditional EU antitrust approval to acquire Credit Suisse as part of a government-orchestrated rescue of its Swiss rival.

The European Commission said the deal would not raise competition concerns in Europe, confirming a Reuters story earlier this month.

“The combined entity will continue facing significant competitive pressure from a wide range of competitors in all of those markets, including several major global banks as well as specialist providers and strong local players,” the EU competition watchdog said in a statement.

UBS, which is twice as big as Credit Suisse by assets, agreed to buy its competitor for 3 billion Swiss francs in stock and to assume up to 5 billion francs in losses in March, in a shotgun merger engineered by Swiss authorities to avert contagion in global banking.

Both UBS and Credit Suisse are in a group of the 30 global systematically important banks watched closely by regulators, and Credit Suisse’s failure would ripple throughout the entire financial system.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee)