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Safra Group to acquire majority stake in Bank Sarasin

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Safra Group and Rabobank have entered into a share purchase agreement under which Safra will acquire a majority shareholding in Swiss private bank Bank Sarasin & Co Ltd.

As of June 2011, Safra Group had aggregate stockholder equity of approximately USD12.2 billion and total assets under management of USD 109 billion. For Sarasin, Safra will be a strongly capitalised majority shareholder that will be able to reinforce Sarasin’s established position as an independent Swiss private bank and support and strengthen Sarasin’s strategy and business model under the existing brand and management team. The transaction is subject to approval and clearance by the competent authorities in Switzerland and abroad. In accordance with Swiss law, the closing of the transaction will give rise to a duty to make a mandatory public offer to minority shareholders.

Sarasin and Safra complement one another strategically in terms of their geographic markets. Both are also highly regarded for their reputation in private banking worldwide, as well as their conservative approach to their client’s assets. Bank Sarasin’s partnership with Safra will achieve enhanced value for the Bank and its clients, providing Sarasin with additional distribution channels for its products as well as access to new growth markets. Sarasin has significant private banking presences in key European markets, the Middle East and Asia. Safra has a strong presence particularly in the Americas and Europe.

Joseph Safra says: "It is a privilege to make this investment in Sarasin, reflecting Safra’s commitment to, and confidence in, the strength, reputation and quality of Sarasin’s banking business, its people, clients and future business potential. The origins of Sarasin and Safra are very similar. Each is characterised by a successful banking history that dates back to the mid nineteenth century. Each embraces and follows philosophies and strategies to private banking that are very much the same. We both place premiums on having our banks extremely well capitalised; adhering to sound banking principles; and attracting, cultivating, and maintaining high quality motivated people for their organisations. We share the stability in our respective client bases and a commitment to the preservation of our clients’ capital. I have the highest regard for Sarasin’s management and look forward to this relationship being a fruitful one for Sarasin, its people, its clients and for Safra.

With Safra as its majority shareholder, Bank Sarasin under its existing well-recognised brand and management team will be able to continue its strategy and business model. With Sarasin, Safra will strengthen its competence centre for private banking in Switzerland and Europe, and will add Middle East and Asia. At present, Safra intends to keep Bank Sarasin listed after closing of the acquisition of the majority shareholding and will thus allow existing shareholders to continue to participate in the Sarasin growth story.

When making its decision, Rabobank wanted to ensure that Bank Sarasin could sustainably maintain its strategic direction and continue its commercial success. Rabobank believes that in Safra it has found an ideal well capitalised, conservative and attractive long-term solution for Bank Sarasin. The sale of its stake in Bank Sarasin will allow Rabobank to concentrate on its strategic priorities and further strengthen its leading role as a universal financial services provider in the Netherlands, as well as pressing ahead with the growth of its international business with food and agribusiness customers.

Sipko Schat (pictured), member Executive Board Rabobank Group, says: "Safra’s acquisition of Rabobank’s shares in Sarasin benefits all three parties. Our successful monetisation of our stake demonstrates the enhanced value of Sarasin that has been created and its attractive long-term potential. We are most pleased that Sarasin will be able to further realise this potential with Safra as its major shareholder. It was very important for Rabobank to find a private banking partner for Sarasin with a strong financial foundation and positive reputation. Rabobank highly respects Safra’s presence in the global private banking community and its culture of stable management and emphasis on preservation of client capital fit extremely well with Sarasin’s banking philosophy."

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