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Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Credit Suisse Group AG and Julius Baer Group Ltd. held talks about a possible merger, Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung reported, citing people it didn’t identify.

There haven’t been any official negotiations and the situation may be re-evaluated if Julius Baer resolves its issues with U.S. tax authorities, SonntagsZeitung said. Hans-Peter Waefler, a spokesman for Credit Suisse, declined to comment. Spokespeople for Julius Baer couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

Credit Suisse, Switzerland’s second-biggest bank, has been under pressure to focus more on managing money for the wealthy and reduce its exposure to investment banking. Acquiring Julius Baer, which had 274.2 billion francs ($299 billion) in assets under management at the end of June, would boost Credit Suisse’s wealth management assets to 1.1 trillion francs. Credit Suisse is the fourth-biggest wealth manager by assets, according to the annual ranking by Scorpio Partnership, which ranks Julius Baer 12th.

Inside Paradeplatz, a Swiss finance blog, said on Aug. 29 that Credit Suisse might be considering a takeover of Julius Baer, causing the shares of Switzerland‘s third largest wealth manager to rise as much as 3 percent.

Credit Suisse, based in Zurich, earlier this year paid a fine of $2.6 billion to settle an investigation of helping its clients dodge U.S. taxes. Julius Baer, also based in Zurich, has said it expects to pay a penalty to settle its tax dispute and can’t reliably assess the size of the fine.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Winters in Zurich at pwinters3@bloomberg.net To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Thiel at sthiel1@bloomberg.net V. Ramakrishnan, Guy Collins

Bloomberg