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German Bank to Buy Rest of UFG

Deutsche Bank is set to take over brokerage United Financial Group, buying out the 60 percent of the shares it does not already own, Vedomosti reported Friday.

Deutsche Bank, which bought a 40 percent stake in UFG in 2003, will exercise an option to purchase UFG's remaining shares from the brokerage's founders and executives for approximately $420 million, making it one of the biggest deals in the banking industry to date, the newspaper said, citing unidentified sources familiar with the talks.

The deal would put the total value of UFG at $700 million -- significantly higher than the bank's $200 million valuation agreed between the two parties in 2003, Vedomosti said.

The German bank's reported decision to buy out UFG has been widely expected by market players. Unconfirmed media reports of UFG's acquisition by Deutsche Bank first surfaced in January but were later denied by the Russian bank.

UFG spokeswoman Jennifer Buttenheim declined to comment on the latest report Friday, as did Deutsche Bank spokeswoman Olga Podoinitsyna.

"The Russian market has a lot of potential, which stems from the country's sheer size" and Deutsche Bank's decision to expand comes as no surprise, said Pavel Teplukhin, president of Troika Dialog Asset Management.

If UFG's acquisition deal goes through, company co-founder Boris Fyodorov; co-founder, chairman and CEO Charles Ryan; president and head of investment banking Ilya Shcherbovich; and 15 other top executives at the bank could receive up to $120 million in dividends, Vedomosti reported.

(The Moscow Times 08.viii.05)

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