CIBC says it in talks on potential $2 billion U.S. acquisition

Thu Apr 23, 2015 11:43am EDT
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By John Tilak

CALGARY (Reuters) - Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CM.TO: Quote) is in talks with several U.S. companies on a potential $2 billion wealth-management and private-banking acquisition, its top executive said in an interview.

But Chief Executive Victor Dodig said CIBC, which has been eyeing the U.S. wealth management space for a while, must be patient as such companies don't come cheap.

Such a deal by Canada's No. 5 lender would increase its scale and help ease concerns among some investors that the bank might be too exposed to the domestic Canadian market.

Financial services firms, including banks and insurers, are targeting the wealth management market because of its growth prospects.

"It's a business we know, it's a business where the demographic trends are benefiting us and it's a business that has attractive economic characteristics," Dodig said ahead of the lender's annual meeting in Calgary, Alberta.

"I have several different conversations that are ongoing, where I get to understand the company," he added. "Some of them may well lead to a partnership."

Dodig led CIBC's wealth management unit before he took the bank's helm in 2014.

The U.S. wealth management industry is the world’s biggest and has been growing strongly as the number of millionaires rises and the U.S. job market recovers. But this has also driven up valuations.   Continued...

A pedestrian walks past a main branch of CIBC in  Montreal, April 24, 2014. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi