DBS in 'advanced' talks to buy SocGen Asia private bank: Sources

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - DBS Group Holdings, Southeast Asia's biggest lender, is in advanced talks to buy Societe Generale's Asian private bank which would help boost its private banking assets by almost a third, sources said.

A successful deal would make it the third major transaction in Asia's competitive private banking landscape since the global financial crisis, as smaller players struggle to generate enough revenue to support expensive bankers and rising regulatory costs.

"The talks are advanced," said a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

A DBS spokeswoman reiterated the bank's stance that boosting wealth management is one of its key strategic priorities but declined to comment on the possibility of talks.

A SocGen spokeswoman in Singapore declined to comment.

DBS was among five suitors short-listed in the final round of bids. Other suitors included ABN AMRO and Credit Suisse, sources earlier told Reuters.

DBS managed US$46 billion in private banking assets at the end of 2012, which could rise by another US$15 billion if it takes over SocGen's Asia unit.

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