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UPDATE 1-DBS, ABN AMRO submit final bids for SocGen Asia private bank-sources

Saeed Azhar and Denny Thomas
Monday, 25 Nov 2013 | 10:04 PM ET

* SocGen had short-listed five suitors

* SocGen's Asia private bank unit manages $13 bln

* The sale attracted interest from UBS, others early on

* DBS seen as front runner to buy the business

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG, Nov 26 (Reuters) - Singapore's DBS Group Holdings, ABN AMRO and Credit Suisse have submitted final round bids for Societe Generale's Asian private bank, which is being valued at around $400 million, people familiar with the matter said.

A successful deal would make it the third major transaction in Asia's competitive private banking landscape since the global financial crisis, as smaller players struggle to generate enough revenue to support expensive bankers and rising regulatory costs.

SocGen had short-listed five suitors, but it was not immediately clear if all those on the short list had placed final bids, which were due on Monday.

Initial price expectations for the business ranged from between $300 million to $600 million, but a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters the business is being valued at around $400 million.

Sources declined to be identified as they are not authorised to talk to the media.

A SocGen spokeswoman in Singapore declined to comment. DBS, Credit Suisse and ABN AMRO also declined to comment.

SocGen's Asian private bank unit manages about $13 billion, below the $20 billion mark that the industry has come to see as necessary for critical mass in the region.

DBS is seen by many as a leading contender for the unit and CEO Piysuh Gupta told an earnings briefing this month the bank would look at Asian wealth businesses.

UBS, Royal Bank of Canada were among bidders looking at the unit in the early stages of the sale, sources have said. Standard Chartered Plc was also an early bidder but has since dropped out, sources said.

SocGen's private bank sale follows two major transactions since the financial crisis including the sale of ING's private bank in late 2009 to Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp and Bank of America's sale of Asian and European private banking units to Julius Baer.

The industry has also seen smaller deals such as the sale of HSBC's private bank in Japan to Credit Suisse and Julius Baer taking over Macquarie Group's private banking unit in Asia.

JPMorgan is advising SocGen on the sale.

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