Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Credit Suisse Group AG is considering selling stock valued at more than 3 billion Swiss francs ($3 billion) as it seeks to boost capital levels, according to people familiar with the matter.

Credit Suisse could seek to raise 10 percent of its market value, or about 3.1 billion francs, through an accelerated stock sale to institutions, which wouldn’t need investors to sign off, the people said, asking not to be named as the details aren’t public.

The lender is also speaking with advisers about raising as much as 5 billion francs, subject to shareholder approval, the people said.

The fundraising, which could happen in the first half of the year, would replace plans for an initial public offering of the company’s Swiss unit, they said. No final decisions have been made and Credit Suisse may decide against a deal, the people said. Meanwhile, preparation is continuing on the IPO, one of the people said.

A representative for Credit Suisse declined to comment.

Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam told Bloomberg Television in February the bank could explore alternatives to the IPO after its $5.3 billion settlement over toxic mortgage securities hurt capital buffers less than estimated. Thiam said he hopes to make a decision on capital options as soon as possible in an interview with Swiss newspaper Finanz und Wirtschaft this week.

Investors are returning to European banks in the belief economic growth and rising interest rates could strengthen earnings. German rival Deutsche Bank AG said this month it would raise 8 billion euros ($8.6 billion) by selling stock to strengthen its capital reserves and boost growth. Italian lender UniCredit SpA successfully raised 13 billion euros from investors in February.

--With assistance from Eyk Henning

To contact the reporters on this story: Ruth David in London at rdavid9@bloomberg.net, Dinesh Nair in London at dnair5@bloomberg.net, Jan-Henrik Förster in Zurich at jforster20@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Aaron Kirchfeld at akirchfeld@bloomberg.net, Amy Thomson, Jon Menon

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