Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Credit Suisse Group AG and UBS Group AG, which have scaled back from the Gulf since the financial crisis, are advising on the potential merger of Abu Dhabi’s two largest banks, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Credit Suisse is advising National Bank of Abu Dhabi PJSC on the combination while UBS is working with First Gulf Bank PJSC, said the people, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Credit Suisse, NBAD and FGB declined to comment, while a spokesman for UBS was not immediately available for comment.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi and First Gulf Bank said they’re in talks to merge in a deal that would create the largest lender by assets in the Middle East. A working group of senior executives from each bank is reviewing the commercial, structural and legal aspects, according to a filing to the Abu Dhabi stock exchange on Sunday. Bloomberg News was first to report the two banks were considering a potential merger on June 16.

Credit Suisse and UBS were among banks that reduced investment banking operations in the Middle East as deal-making slowed after the global financial crisis. Credit Suisse plans to shrink parts of its investment bank and focus on growth in Asia and wealth management, Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam said last year.

--With assistance from Archana Narayanan To contact the reporters on this story: Dinesh Nair in London at dnair5@bloomberg.net, Arif Sharif in Dubai at asharif2@bloomberg.net, Stefania Bianchi in Dubai at sbianchi10@bloomberg.net. To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dale Crofts at dcrofts@bloomberg.net, Mark McCord

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