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CSFB: Up for sale?

There have been more rumours in the past two years that CSFB and Credit Suisse were about to be sold than there have been sightings of Elvis. And like the King of Rock 'n' Roll, these rumours just won't go away. The recent spate of commercial bank mergers in the US fuelled speculation, with Credit Suisse said to be hooking up with Deutsche Bank, Citigroup and, lately, HSBC.

If any were able to buy it now, they'd be getting a bargain. As one senior banker in the firm puts it: "If you value the private bank fairly, you'd get roughly today's market cap. So if someone were to pay that price now, they'd be getting Winterthur and CSFB for free."

Selling just CSFB is completely off the agenda, says Mack: "It's tied very closely to the private bank, the synergies between the two are huge." As for selling the whole firm, there seems to be little appetite to go looking for a deal. "If one of these many rumoured deals actually happens, it will change the industry. We discuss the issues of size, scale and competitive advantage constantly, and I don't think that's any different to what our competitors are doing."

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