February 6, 2015 / 2:18 AM / 4 years ago

Canada's RBC, CIBC looked at buying Boston Private Bank: WSJ

(Reuters) - Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), two of Canada’s biggest banks, looked at buying U.S. lender Boston Private Bank & Trust Co, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

A Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) logo is seen on Bay Street in the heart of the financial district in Toronto, January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

RBC was in talks last month to buy Boston Private, before it reached a deal to acquire another U.S.-based lender, the Journal said, citing two people. (on.wsj.com/1Aw39Mu)

One of the people said RBC ultimately decided that Boston Private wasn’t a good fit because it wanted a wealth management platform and not a private banking platform, the Journal said.

RBC initially valued Boston Private at $2 billion, but later concluded that the valuation was too high, the newspaper said. RBC also passed on buying First Republic Corp in San Francisco, the Journal reported people as saying.

Canada’s major banks, which emerged from the financial crisis largely unscathed, have been on a global hunt to expand their wealth management business.

RBC said on Jan. 22 that it would buy Los Angeles-based City National Corp for $5.4 billion, as it pushes deeper into the U.S. wealth management business.

CIBC was also on the list of potential buyers for Boston Private, the Journal reported, citing a third person.

“We don’t comment on rumors or speculation,” CIBC spokesman Kevin Dove told Reuters on Thursday.

Boston Private and RBC were not immediately available for comment.

(This version of the story corrects paragraph 4 to clarify RBC did not buy First Republic Corp)

Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Kirti Pandey

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