may be eyeing Credit Suisse First Boston's Pershing
unit, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal
. Word that the Boston Behemoth was eyeing the clearing firm first surfaced in TheDeal.com
last Friday. The unit, which is the second largest clearing firm, carries a price tag of $1 billion to $2 billion, according to news reports.
Along with Fidelity the short list of interested parties likely includes the Bank of New York and Bear Stearns, which already clears 12 percent of trades on the NYSE (Pershing clears 10 percent).
The paper reports that at least two firms are in "early-stage" discussions with CSFB and that any deal is at least a few weeks off.
CSFB picked up the unit when it purchased DLJ. At the time, observers noted that the deal was driven by the DLJ's online brokerage, not the Pershing unit. That unit was later sold to Bank of Montreal. With CSFB's margins coming under increasing pressure, a sale of the unit would be a logical way for the investment bank to raise capital. CSFB reported a third-quarter loss of $425 million last week. That was part of an overall loss of $1.48 billion reported by Credit Suisse Group.
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