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UBS shareholders approve share offer to fund US buyout

Graphic for UBS shareholders approve new share offer for PaineWebber purchase. UBS

Shareholders of Switzerland's largest financial group, UBS, have approved a proposed increase in share capital to finance the purchase of New York brokerage firm, PaineWebber.

At a special general meeting in Zurich, an overwhelming majority voted in favour of the bank’s proposal to issue up to 38 million new authorised capital shares and 17 million conditional capital shares.

UBS announced in July that it would buy PaineWebber for $10.8 billion (SFr19.22 billion) but the price has increased to $12.4 billion (SFr22.07 billion) due to the strengthening United States dollar and share price movements.

“Given the ideal strategic fit between the two companies, a maximum consideration of $12.4 billion is fair in our opinion,” UBS chief executive Marcel Ospel told the meeting. “This opinion is based on PaineWebber’s impressive potential.”

The deal will allow UBS to gain a stronger position in the US with a company known for its large base of affluent clients.

The merger is still subject to approval by PaineWebber’s shareholders next month and by the regulatory authorities. If all goes according to plan, UBS plans to conclude the transaction in November.

In a separate development, UBS on Friday announced it was setting up its own life insurance company early next year. (See “UBS enters life insurance market” on our Business Site.)

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR