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Flowers Said to Join GIC for $1.5 Billion BTG Stake

30 November 2010

(Bloomberg) November 30, 2010 – Financier J. Christopher Flowers is in talks to buy a stake in Brazil’s Banco BTG Pactual SA as part of an investor group that includes Government of Singapore Investment Corp., three people with knowledge of the deal said.

Andre Esteves, the Brazilian billionaire who controls Rio de Janeiro-based BTG, is in talks to sell about 15 percent of the firm to the group for about $1.5 billion to fund expansion, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the plans are private. An announcement may come as early as this week, the people said.

Flowers, 53, is known for takeovers of big financial companies, such as Japan’s Shinsei Bank. Last year, his firm helped lead a group of private-equity and hedge fund managers to pump $1.55 billion into the collapsed IndyMac Bank in California. In 2008, he personally bought the First National Bank of Cainesville in Missouri, which had $14 million of assets, renaming it Flowers National Bank.

The deal for BTG would be Flowers’s first investment in Brazil, one of the people said.

Esteves and his partners bought Banco BTG Pactual, Brazil’s biggest equity underwriter, back from UBS AG for $2.5 billion last year. The bank, which cited market conditions in canceling an initial public offering in June, has benefitted as foreign demand for emerging-market stocks increases, Guilherme Paes, head of investment banking at Banco BTG Pactual, said in August.

A press official at an outside agency representing BTG, who asked not to be named, declined to comment. A call to Flowers’s office wasn’t returned. Jennifer Lewis, a spokeswoman for GIC, as the Singapore fund is known, did not immediately comment.

GIC, the manager of more than $100 billion of Singapore reserves, was first reported to be in talks about buying a stake in BTG in early September. GIC said in its annual report on Sept. 27 that it will continue to boost investments in higher-growth emerging economies as expansion in developed nations slows.

By Cristina Alesci, Zachary R. Mider and Serena Saitto