Rabobank in talks to sell its stake in Swiss bank Sarasin

DUTCH lender Rabobank is in talks with several potential buyers of its controlling stake in Sarasin, the Swiss private bank said yesterday.

Swiss newspapers reported that both Julius Baer and cooperative bank Raiffeisen were considering offers for Sarasin. Rabobank owns 46 per cent of Sarasin’s capital and about 68 per cent of voting rights.

“At present Rabobank is retaining its majority shareholding and is keeping all its options open,” Sarasin said. Its shares closed up 15.3 per cent.

The Handelszeitung daily paper quoted an unnamed Zurich investment banker as saying Baer had submitted a non-binding offer for Sarasin, while the Tages-Anzeiger title said Baer and Raiffeisen had both registered their interest.

Julius Baer declined to comment on the report of an offer, but spokesman Jan Bielinski said Sarasin was an interesting prospect. “It has a similar culture, similar business model and similar philosophy to Julius Baer,” he said.

A Raiffeisen spokesman declined to comment on the report but said: “We regularly examine opportunities for takeovers, acquisitions or partnerships in the Swiss market under the auspices of our growth strategy.”