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Exclusive: BlackRock to buy Credit Suisse's European ETFs - source

By Jessica Toonkel

NEW YORK (Reuters) - BlackRock Inc has won the bidding for Credit Suisse Group AG's European exchange-traded fund business, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The deal is expected to be announced shortly, said the source, who declined to be identified because the deal is not yet public. The value of the deal could not be determined.

A BlackRock spokeswoman and a Credit Suisse spokeswoman declined to comment.

Credit Suisse put its $17.6 billion ETF unit up for sale in October, sources told Reuters at the time.

In November, Credit Suisse said it was integrating its private banking and asset management divisions into a new wealth management unit.

BlackRock and State Street Global Advisors, the asset management arm of State Street Corp, were among the companies bidding for the business, but State Street dropped out of the bidding in December.

Credit Suisse is the fourth largest ETF provider in Europe, with 58 ETFs and a 5.3 percent market share as of December 31, according to ETFGI, a London-based ETF research firm.

BlackRock is the largest ETF provider in Europe, with more than 42 percent of the $331 billion European ETF market. Its 202 European iShares ETFs had $139.6 billion in assets as of December 31, the research firm said.

Credit Suisse's ETF business would be the second international ETF business BlackRock has acquired in the past several months.

BlackRock bought Toronto-based Claymore Investments, a Canadian ETF operation, from Guggenheim Partners LLC, in March.

"This acquisition shows BlackRock's further commitment to being the dominant player in ETFs in every market they are in," said Dave Nadig, director of research at IndexUniverse LLC, a San Francisco-based firm that tracks ETFs.

In October, BlackRock Chief Executive Laurence Fink told Reuters it was looking at a "fill-in ETF acquisition in another country.

(Reporting By Jessica Toonkel; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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