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BlackRock’s acquisition of Credit Suisse’s exchange-traded funds (ETFs) business has formally completed, the asset manager confirmed in a statement.
The acquisition, which related to $17.6 billion in assets at the time the deal was first formally agreed in January, cements BlackRock’s iShares platform as Europe’s leading provider of ETFs.
The completion comes just days after the UK’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) revealed that it would not be referring the acquisition to the Competition Commission.
Although the OFT received a number of expressions of concern about the parties’ large combined share of the European ETF segment, it did not believe that there would be realistic prospect that the combined business would be able to profitably raise prices.
Research from ETFGI, a London-based ETF consultancy, suggested that the combined iShares/Credit Suisse business would control nearly three-quarters of the assets in physically-backed ETFs in Europe.
With the deal now complete, all 58 of Credit Suisse’s ETFs have been re-branded and re-named, and have begun trading as iShares ETFs on the exchanges where such funds are listed. ISIN codes and identifiers (e.g. Bloomberg tickers) remain unchanged.
The acquisition extends iShares’ footprint in Switzerland, a key European market for ETFs, where it has operated since 2003. Following the completion, iShares now offers one of the broadest ranges of ETF exposures domiciled in Switzerland, with assets under management of CHF 7.7 billion ($8.1 billion) across equities, fixed income and gold funds (as of end of May 2013).
Assets under management at Credit Suisse’s ETF unit are thought to have been hit be heavy outflows following the decision to put the unit up for sale. BlackRock will now be looking to steady the ship and reverse these flows.
Commenting on the completion, Joe Linhares, Head of iShares EMEA, said: “We are very excited that starting from today, we can move forward as one firm. This acquisition has combined two leading ETF providers with a common culture of responsible innovation, high quality products and a commitment to developing and expanding the ETF market.”
David Blumer, Head of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) for BlackRock, added: “Switzerland is an important market for us. BlackRock has been helping Swiss clients meet their financial objectives for 10 years. We believe that more investors will have an interest in owning financial products denominated in Swiss francs and we want to serve them.”
Christian Gast, Head of iShares Switzerland, commented: “This acquisition means that we can better serve Swiss clients and provide the efficient, innovative and transparent products that today’s investors demand.”