PaineWebber, which last quarter posted the best operating results in its 120-year history, has long been described as an attractive takeover target because of its large brokerage sales force and upscale client base. “In the longer run this is certainly a good strategic fit and the price is reasonable,” said Susanne Borer at Bank Vontobel, a Zurich-based private bank. After the deal closes, Marron will stay on as chairman of the PaineWebber unit, and become chairman of UBS North America, advising Ospel. The latest deal continues a pattern of cross-Atlantic mergers between financial firms as they seek competitive advantage. Among those deals have been the Deutsche Bank AG's purchase of Bankers Trust Corp., and Dutch insurer Aegon NV's acquisition of Transamerica Corp. in 1999.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.