BlackRock explores rival Credit Suisse takeover bid

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BlackRock is making a rival bid for Suisse that would break a plan blessed by the Swiss central bank for UBS to acquire its struggling rival, five people with knowledge of the matter told the Times.

The US giant is evaluating several options and talking to other potential investors, people with knowledge of the matter said. The options contained bids for only certain parts of the .

However, BlackRock said on Saturday that it is “not participating in any plan to acquire all or any portion of Credit Suisse, and has no interest in doing so”.

Larry Fink, co-founder and chief executive of $8.6tn money manager BlackRock, was driving the bid, according to people with knowledge of the matter. Fink previously worked in the investment business of Credit Suisse, Boston.

BlackRock has long been one of Credit Suisse's largest investment banking clients, particularly its fixed- trading desk. A deal, especially for its US arm, would be an opportunistic way to bring business potential in-house, said one of the people.

Any deal would face significant regulatory hurdles in Europe and the US.

The Swiss national bank and regulator FINMA favor a Swiss solution to the crisis at Credit Suisse, according to people familiar with the matter.

The SNB and FINMA are holding talks between Credit Suisse and UBS in an effort to boost confidence in the country's banking sector, the FT reported on Friday. The pair have discovered a transaction that could result in a full or partial combination between the banks.

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The talks come days after the central bank forced Credit Suisse to provide an emergency SFr50bn ($54bn) credit line.

However, this support failed to stop the decline in the bank's share price, which has fallen to record lows after its biggest investor refused to provide more capital and its chairman admitted it was unable to provide funds. Management is continuing to drain customers.

Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Additional reporting by Laura Noonan