Barclays chief predicts more bank deals

Barclays yesterday moved one step nearer to washing its hands of the unwanted parts of BZW, its investment banking arm. The bank has agreed the sale of BZW Australasia and is close to clinching a deal for BZW Asia. Lea Paterson charts the demise of yet another British banking name.

Barclays, the UK bank, is to sell its Australian and New Zealand investment banking operations to ABN Amro, the Dutch bank, for A$177m (pounds 71m). It is also set to announce the sale of parts of BZW Asia to Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), the Swiss-American investment bank which yesterday received regulatory clearance for its proposed acquisition of parts of Barclays' European investment banking operations.

These disposals mark the end of the sale process instigated by Martin Taylor, chief executive of Barclays, two months ago. Mr Taylor yesterday expressed relief that the process was drawing to a close. "BZW had been a strategic puzzle for quite a long time", he admitted.

Mr Taylor reaffirmed his commitment to BZW's debt activities, which have been retained within the Barclays group and renamed Barclays Capital. "If we were going to dispose of these businesses, we would have done so already", he commented. Nor did he rule out a possible Barclays link-up with another European bank next year. "Europe is over-banked", he said.

NatWest, Barclays' UK High Street rival, is understood to have snubbed an approach by Barclays some months ago. Barclays is also understood to have cast its eye over Credit Lyonnais, the troubled French bank, prior to the change of government in France.

Although BZW equities division was put up for sale in October, Barclays had been weighing up its involvement in investment banking for some months.

Mr Taylor explained: "It was a really a question of whether we believed the business was going to cut it. We decided that on the debt side it was, but on the equity side it wasn't".

Back in January, Mr Taylor proposed to the board that parts of BZW should be sold off, but the board turned down his proposal, saying that BZW was improving its trading position. Mr Taylor said yesterday he was "content" with the decision at the time, but that, on reflection, perhaps he "shouldn't have been".

Soon after Mr Taylor's proposal was turned down, Morgan Stanley, the US investment bank, announced it was to join forces with Dean Witter, the US stockbroker. If the announcement had come a little earlier, it could have helped persuade the board to sell off BZW at the beginning of the year, according to Mr Taylor.

But it was the second "mega merger" of the year - between Salomon Brothers, the US bank, and Smith Barney, the US stockbroker - that was to hasten the demise of the BZW name. "The business is moving at a very fast pace", admitted Mr Taylor at the time.

Although the proposed sale of of BZW initially attracted a number of interested parties, the potential bidders slowly but surely dropped out of the race.

CSFB eventually secured the acquisition of Barclays' European equities operations for a knockdown price - pounds 50m less than book value - but at the time turned its nose up at Barclays' overseas subsidiaries.

BZW's Australasian operations, yesterday sold to ABN for pounds 14m more than net asset value, were regarded by the City as the most commercially sound of the overseas subsidiaries. Although CSFB is now in "advanced negotiations" over the purchase of BZW's Asian equities operations, closures were "not out of the question", according to one source. Last month Barclays shut down its Japanese equities business after failing to find a suitable bidder.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Guru Careers: Software Engineer / Software Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power