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Zurich Financial Services closes Scudder sale

The deal allows Zurich to shed its under-performing US fund business

(Keystone Archive)

Zurich Financial Services has announced the completion of the sale of its United States fund unit, Zurich Scudder Investment, to Deutsche Bank.

The deal, worth $2.5 billion (SFr4 billion), allows Zurich to get rid of its under-performing US fund business, which it bought in 1995.

Deutsche Bank, which has abandoned the insurance business, said the move makes it the world's fourth-largest asset manager.

Under the deal, announced last September, Deutsche swapped 75.9 per cent of its insurance holdings, including its insurance unit, Deutsche Herold, and its Bonfinanz investment advisory arm for Scudder, which has an asset base of $350 billion.

The sale excludes Scudder's British operations, Threadneedle, which Zurich said was "closely integrated" into its British distribution network.

Cash injection

Zurich said it expected $700 million in net proceeds to flow into the group as a result of the deal. Many analysts were disappointed by the estimate, hoping for a bigger cash injection to ease the company's debt burden and restore confidence in the firm.

Over the years, Zurich has acquired a number of fund-manager management companies, including Kemper, Threadneedle and Scudder, in a bid to establish a global fund management brand.

However, problems of integrating the companies, combined with poor performances, have proved more difficult than expected.

Zurich recently announced a net loss of $387 million for 2001.

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