SWITZERLAND - Swiss private bank Julius Baer has bought back 5.47% of its shares held by Swiss banking group UBS, while the remaining stake has been sold on the stock market.

Switzerland's largest asset manager UBS (source: IPE Top 400 Asset Managers) said the offer, launched on Thursday via an accelerated bookbuilding transaction, "met strong demand from high quality institutional investors in Europe and the US".

The sale of the 15.23% stake in Julius Baer was concluded the next day at CHF84 (€50.8) per share totaling CHF1.1bn.

On Thursday, Julius Baer, the third-largest Swiss asset manager, agreed to buy back 5.47% of its own shares at CHF90 per share but the successful sale of the remaining shares on the stock market was conditional for this part of the deal.

Baer has announced it will propose the cancellation of these repurchased shares at the next general meeting of shareholders. The bank noted it "appreciates the cooperation UBS has shown in dealing with their stake in Julius Baer".

UBS' pre-tax capital gain on the transactions is estimated at CHF2bn and the banking group has announced the money will be used to "buy back shares in the coming months".

UBS received the shares in Julius Baer  in December 2005 as part of the sale of UBS' specialist asset manager GAM to Julius Baer. UBS had agreed to a UBS had agreed to a lock-up period of 18 months which expired on 25 May 2007.