updated 9/4/2005 4:49:57 PM ET 2005-09-04T20:49:57

Switzerland's banking giant UBS AG is eyeing a takeover of Julius Baer Holding AG to expand its focus on private banking on its home turf, a Swiss newspaper reported Sunday.

On Friday, Julius Baer convened an extraordinary board meeting to discuss a merger or cooperation with the private banking arm of UBS, the Sunday newspaper SonntagsZeitung said.

On the stock exchange, Julius Baer is valued at $3.9 billion.

UBS, one of Europe's largest banks, would incorporate Julius Baer into its SBC Wealth Management holding — an umbrella for several UBS-owned private banks which all do business under their own name, the newspaper said.

After a merger, UBS' private banking group would have well over $163 billion in assets under management.

UBS is already the world's largest private bank. UBS and Julius Baer declined to comment.

In late trading Friday, renewed talk of a takeover sent shares of Julius Baer up 8.4 percent. UBS shares closed little changed.

There has been repeated talk that Julius Baer may become a takeover target or buy smaller rivals after the Baer family decided earlier this year to give up its voting control.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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