Swiss bank Swissfirst AG, which has put itself up for sale following a scandal that led to the departure in recent days of its chief executive, has attracted interest from more than a dozen possible buyers, from private-equity firms to European rivals, people close to the matter say.
But pushing hardest to buy the company is German financial entrepreneur Patrick Bettscheider, these people added. Mr. Bettscheider, a former senior executive at Deutsche Bank AG who in 2001 founded Frankfurt-based MainFirst Bank AG, has approached Swissfirst with a plan to buy the publicly traded shares himself, and merging Swissfirst with MainFirst at a later time, these people said. He may already have secured enough financing to make such a purchase, they added.
Swissfirst’s market value is about 800 million Swiss francs ($652 million), but the shares have fallen by about a third since the recent scandal erupted. The stock trades at a multiple of earnings per share much lower than its peers, suggesting any buyer would likely pay a large premium to the share price. Shares closed yesterday in Zurich at 75.20 francs, down 0.7%.
WSJ.com – German Tycoon Makes Big Push To Buy Swissfirst