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Royal Bank of Canada to buy City National in $5.4 billion deal

January 22, 2015

Views Of Toronto's Financial District As Canada Dollar Slips From 2-Week HighViews Of Toronto's Financial District As Canada Dollar Slips From 2-Week High
A pedestrian walks past a Royal Bank of Canada office in Toronto.Photograph by Reynard Li — Bloomberg/Getty Images

Royal Bank of Canada said on Thursday it will buy City National (CYN), a U.S. lender serving high net worth clients, in a $5.4 billion deal that marks the latest move by Canada’s major banks to expand their wealth management operations abroad.

RBC, Canada’s largest bank by market value, offered $47.25 in cash and 0.7489 in stock for each City National share.

The total offer of $93.80 per share, based on RBC’s closing price of $62.16 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, represents a premium of nearly 26 percent to City National’s last closing price.

Canada’s major banks, which emerged from the financial crisis largely unscathed, have been looking to expand their wealth management operations at home and abroad.

Factors drawing them to the sector include the fact the business is less capital intensive than traditional banking and should benefit as aging baby boomers focus on retirement savings.

RBC in particular has pushed hard to grow its global wealth management footprint, buying UK wealth manager BlueBay Asset Management in 2010. It has also invested heavily in its capital markets business, especially in the United States.

“CYN is a solid franchise that will deepen RY’s penetration in U.S. Wealth Management and broaden its geographic exposure, particularly in California,” Barclays analyst John Aiken said in a note to clients.

There have been few large banking deals in the United States since the financial crisis as regulators have stepped up scrutiny of capital levels of acquiring banks.

However, there has been a wave of consolidation among smaller U.S. banks, which have struggled to increase profits due to historically low interest rates.

RBC plans to combine its U.S. wealth management unit with City National after the deal closes. The Canadian lender has 8,000 employees in the United States, including more than 3,000 in New York.

RBC said the transaction is expected to add to its earnings in the second year after the closure of the deal, which is likely in the fourth quarter of this year.

Los Angeles-based City National serves clients across several large U.S. metropolitan areas, including New York, Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area and Orange County.