Barclays considered acquiring UBS ahead of Lehman Brothers, report claims

17 March 2010

Barclays bank considered taking over Swiss Bank UBS in the weeks leading up to its acquisition of failed institution Lehman Brothers, a newspaper report has claimed.

Current and former directors at the bank told the Financial Times that senior executives gave a presentation to the board in July 2008 claiming that acquiring the Swiss financial institution would be a better option.

However, Barclays instead opted to take over Lehman Brothers during September 2008 and agreed to pay $1.75 billion for its core business.

The figure consisted of $250 million for the struggling operation and $1.5 billion for its headquarters in New York.

In a statement released to announced the acquisition Bob E Diamond Jr, Barclays president, described the deal as “a once in a lifetime opportunity for Barclays”.

“We will now have the best team and most productive culture across the world’s major financial markets, backed by the resources of an integrated universal bank,” he added.

The acquisition came after Barclays was reportedly bidding to takeover Dutch bank ABN Amro, the FT reported.

Royal Bank of Scotland and Fortis, two of the three companies in the consortium which successfully bid for the company, were forced to seek fiscal support following the deal.

By Jim Ottewill

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