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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bank Austria to Buy Aton for $420M

VedomostiTraders talking in the Aton office. UniCredit's buy will include the equity, fixed-income and corporate finance divisions.
UniCredit's Eastern European arm, Bank Austria, is to buy Aton brokerage for $424 million, Bank Austria said Wednesday.

The acquisition will include the equity, fixed-income and corporate-finance divisions of Aton Capital Group, Milan-based UniCredit said in a stock exchange statement Wednesday. Aton's discount brokerage and asset-management businesses are not part of the transaction.

"Aton's capital markets franchise will enhance our already strong banking presence in Russia," Willi Hemetsberger, head of global markets of UniCredit Markets & Investment Banking, said in a statement.

UniCredit already has 79.3 percent of International Moscow Bank, or IMB, and agreed to buy another 16 percent stake earlier this month.

"Together with IMB we have now a powerful platform to serve our global and Russian customers," Hemetsberger said.

Aton had earlier been courted by investment bank Goldman Sachs but negotiations produced nothing.

"We were flattered by their attention but we had to see the synergy potential and CA IB is very similar to Aton in what it does. Aton management saw more potential in a deal with CA IB," said Steven Dashevsky, Aton's managing director.

Aton's CEO Alexander Kandel earlier forecast 2006 revenues for Aton Broker, the main part of the deal, at no less than $100 million and operating profit at no less than $50 million.

"Our full-year results will be in line with this forecast," Kandel said.

The Italian lender wants to win more investment banking clients by also focusing on Eastern Europe.

"Russia has interesting prospects, especially considering the growth in the equity market," said Simone Freschi, a stock and derivatives trader at Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena. "It's the right move."

(Bloomberg, Reuters)