Deutsche Bank dodged US$4b Archegos hit with quick sale

[FRANKFURT] Deutsche Bank sold about US$4 billion of holdings seized in the implosion of Archegos Capital Management in a private deal on Friday, helping it emerge unscathed from a scramble that may cost some rivals billions of dollars.

The German bank executed the direct sale after Archegos defaulted on margin loans used to build up highly leveraged bets on stocks, people with knowledge of the matter said. At the time, other lenders had already started selling and the pressure was on Deutsche Bank to rid itself of the exposure or potentially get stuck with losses.

One of the buyers was Marshall Wace, among Europe's largest hedge fund managers, according to a person familiar with its role who asked not to be identified discussing a private transaction. The names of the others weren't immediately available.

Representatives for Deutsche Bank and Marshall Wace declined to comment.

The US$4 billion sale brings to almost US$30 billion the known value of investments that have been liquidated in the messy unwinding of Archegos. The private investment firm, run by former Tiger Management star Bill Hwang, grew into a hidden colossus before collapsing almost overnight in one of the biggest margin calls in history.

Bloomberg has reported that Archegos lenders led by Credit Suisse tried to broker some kind of standstill agreement with Mr Hwang last week, seeking to untie positions without causing panic. But any agreement was elusive and the trades started to become public on Friday, triggering a selloff.

Goldman Sachs Group, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo dumped multibillion-dollar blocks of stock, in some cases through the weekend, to recover capital they loaned to Archegos. Deutsche Bank previously said it was able to de-risk its Archegos exposure and doesn't expect to incur losses on the trades.

It is the second time in less than a year that Deutsche Bank avoided damage from a big corporate collapse it had exposure to. The lender also emerged relatively unscathed when the German payments company Wirecard imploded in one of the country's largest accounting scandals. The insolvency inflicted hundreds of millions of euros in credit losses on many lenders that, unlike Deutsche Bank, hadn't hedged their exposure.

Swiss rival Credit Suisse expects a hit in the billions of dollars from Archegos, people with knowledge of the matter have said, while Nomura Holdings Inc. has signaled it may lose as much as US$2 billion. Analysts at JPMorgan estimate the Archegos blowup may cause as much as US$10 billion of combined losses for banks.

David Herro, chief investment officer of Harris Associates - one of Credit Suisse's biggest shareholders - said on Bloomberg Television on Wednesday that the Archegos incident was a "wake-up call" for Credit Suisse and should lead to sweeping changes to its culture and oversight practices.

Shares of Credit Suisse tumbled 21 per cent this week on concern over the size of its potential Archegos hit. Deutsche Bank is down 2.9 per cent.



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