JPMorgan may sell commodities unit to Mercuria

JPMorgan Chase & Co agreed to sell its physical commodities unit to Mercuria Energy Group Ltd, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

By Bloomberg

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Published: Thu 20 Mar 2014, 10:16 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 4:50 AM

Mercuria may pay as much as $3.7 billion for the unit and a deal could be announced soon, one of the people said on Wednesday, asking not to be named before it’s made public. The future of Blythe Masters, head of the New York-based bank’s commodities division, isn’t expected to be part of the deal’s announcement, one of the people said.

JPMorgan is selling amid concern that banks could control prices if they own commodities as well as trade them, or suffer catastrophic losses that would endanger the financial system. The Federal Reserve said in July it might force insured lenders to get out, and JPMorgan agreed later that month to pay $410 million to settle claims that it manipulated power markets without admitting wrongdoing.

Mercuria was started in 2004 by former Goldman Sachs Group traders Marco Dunand and Daniel Jaeggi and is now the world’s fourth-largest independent commodity trader. Dunand and Jaeggi each own 15 per cent of the Geneva-based company, which has grown rapidly in the past three years.

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