22nd March 2023 – (New York) BlackRock, the world’s largest provider of investment products, had an opportunity to take over parts of Credit Suisse, but ultimately did not make a move. The American asset manager saw a chance to acquire Credit Suisse at a bargain price, but talks broke off when BlackRock indicated it did not want to buy the bank in its entirety.
BlackRock founder Larry Fink sent Credit Suisse First Boston veteran Rob Kapito to see if a deal could be reached. However, BlackRock also had no interest in upsetting UBS, with whom it has numerous business relationships. There was at least one interested party for a partial sale of Credit Suisse, which would have played out the scenario of a spin-off of the Swiss unit.
The emergency rescue of UBS by Credit Suisse resulted in a private-sector takeover with liquidity support from the Swiss National Bank and government guarantees. There is now no turning back for UBS, but it remains to be seen whether the takeover will be successful in the long run.
It is unclear why BlackRock or another bidder did not make the cut, but one factor could have been opposition from U.S. and U.K. supervisory authorities. A partial sale could have resulted in smouldering fires shifting to those regions.
The shifting sands of crisis have been felt throughout the financial industry, and BlackRock could have had a rare opportunity to move into a new league in wealth management with the purchase of Credit Suisse. Compared to its rivals, BlackRock lacks wealth management, which made acquiring Credit Suisse an attractive prospect.
BlackRock founder Larry Fink has long been rumored to be looking for a big deal, with a foray into alternative investments seen as likely. Last year, BlackRock was said to be considering a move into private equity group Carlyle, but the company was thrown into chaos by the sudden departure of Chief Executive Kewsong Lee.
In the end, BlackRock did not make a move on Credit Suisse, but the opportunity was there.