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British Firm to Buy Republic New York

May 11, 1999|Bloomberg News

British banking company HSBC Holdings reached an agreement to buy Republic New York Corp. and an affiliate for $10.3 billion in cash. The deal would give HSBC 30,000 private-banking clients around the world and the third-largest branch network in New York state. London-based HSBC would pay $72 a share each for Republic and Safra Republic Holdings, doubling the size of its private bank. Private banking is individualized banking for wealthy investors, a profitable business in which Republic is seen to have a strong market niche. Safra Republic operates 44 offices in such places as Monte Carlo and Geneva. HSBC already has 374 branches in New York and $34 billion in assets in the U.S. through its Buffalo, N.Y.-based Marine Midland Bank unit. The deal marks the end of an era for Edmond Safra, who founded Republic in 1966. Safra agreed to sell his 29% of Republic New York and about 21% of Safra Republic. Republic shares fell $1.94 to close at $68.06 on the New York Stock Exchange, after rising 14% on Friday amid takeover speculation.

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