The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved the proposed acquisition of DSP Merrill Lynch’s (DSPML) wealth management business in India by the Zurich-based Julius Baer (JB) Group. The commission’s order came after DSPML and JB executed a local purchase agreement (LPA) in January, as part of the acquisition of DSP’s wealth management and lending businesses and trust services in the country.
As per the agreement, the proposed combination “involves a series of inter-connected and inter-dependent steps”, which involves acquisition of 100% shares of Merrill Lynch Wealth Advisors (MLWA) by JB and transfer of the wealth management lending business of DSP Merrill Lynch Capital to Bank of America Securities (India) (BASIL) followed by the transfer of 100% share capital of BASIL to MLWA.
JB is a Swiss private banking group which manages assets worth $297 billion through its presence in more than 20 countries.
In 2012, Bank of America Corp agreed to sell its overseas wealth management operations to JB through a part-cash and part-equity deal. The merger is expected to be complete with transfer of Merrill Lynch’s businesses in France and India to JB.
The CCI observed that DSPML and JB are not engaged directly or indirectly in providing similar services in India. It also concluded DSPML holds insignificant market share in the domestic market.
Since JB has no presence in India, “the proposed combination is not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India in any of the relevant market(s)”, the order said.