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.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
News
i100
Life and Style
tech

Apple agrees deal with Visa on contactless payments

Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
News
i100
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

Technical Software Consultant (Excel, VBA, SQL, JAVA, Oracle)

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: You will not be expected to hav...

SQL DBA/Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL DBA/Developer SQL, C#, VBA, Data Warehousi...

.NET Developer

£650 per day: Harrington Starr: .NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM,...

Java/C++ Developer

£350 - £375 per day: Harrington Starr: Looking for a Java/C++ Developer to wor...

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor