The Swiss government will hold a news conference later after UBS made a takeover offer for embattled Credit Suisse, local media reports.
The possible emergency rescue comes after the authorities raced over the weekend to secure the rescue of the 167-year-old bank, which is among the world’s largest wealth managers, in a move hoped to contain the industry’s biggest crisis since 2008 and avoid global market turmoil.
It would be the most significant global banking merger since the financial meltdown of 15 years ago.
It follows reports Credit Suisse had been resisting an offer from its bigger rival of up to $1bn, believing it to be too low and that it would hurt shareholders and employees who hold deferred stock.
As one of 30 global banks seen as systemically important, any deal for Credit Suisse could have major repercussions for
As a last resort, Swiss authorities have reportedly considered a full or partial nationalisation of the bank.
Credit Suisse has been brought to the brink of financial collapse despite securing a $54bn (£44bn) credit line from Switzerland’s central bank several days ago.
The move, which was designed to reassure markets and depositors, failed to halt a rush of customer withdrawals, prompting a request from the Swiss government for UBS to explore a takeover.
Although Credit Suisse has a market capitalisation of just $8bn (£6.6bn) – down from close to $100bn (£82bn) at its 2007 peak – fears for its future had sent shockwaves through financial markets across the world.
Its vast investment bank balance sheet was reported to have been a stumbling block in the talks with UBS.
City sources said authorities in the US had pressed the Swiss government to expedite a solution to the crisis during the course of this weekend.
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Reports suggested UBS wants the Swiss government to provide a multibillion dollar backstop to insure it against losses arising from the takeover of the smaller bank.
The current tumult in the global banking sector was sparked by the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank in the US earlier this month.
Hopes takeover will avert contagion
Its UK branch was rescued by HSBC for £1, but a number of other mid-sized American lenders have also been forced to seek emergency funding.
There are hopes the takeover of Credit Suisse will avert the kind of contagion witnessed during crisis of 2008, when banks including Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers collapsed.
Credit Suisse employs approximately 5,000 people in the UK, making it one of the largest investment banking employers in the City.