Swiss bank Julius Baer said on Tuesday that it is in negotiations with Bank of America (BofA) to take on Merrill Lynch's global private banking arm with over $90 billion (71 billion euros) in assets.
The Zurich-based bank confirmed that it was in "discussions" with BofA but that it was too soon to say whether its bid would be successful.
BofA inherited Merrill Lynch global private wealth management operation at the height of the subprime crisis.
"Given the early stage of these discussions, the outcome is entirely open," the bank said in a brief statement.
Reports in the financial press late last week indicated that two other Swiss banks were in the running -- UBS and Credit Suisse -- along with American bank Wells Fargo.
The successful bidder may have to pay more than $3 billion to secure the deal, the Financial Times said last week.