is trying to strike an agreement to buy the U.K.'s
Robert Fleming Holdings
for about $6 billion, according to
The news service, citing people familiar with the situation, said Saturday that Chase could wrap up its bid to acquire the big merchant bank as early as next week.
Officials at Chase couldn't immediately be reached by
The deal would help Chase expand in Asia, where Fleming manages more than $30 billion for individual and institutional investors and controls
, once Hong Kong's biggest broker, Bloomberg said. New York-based Chase opened offices in Asia 75 years ago and employs 3,500 people in 12 Asian countries, Bloomberg reported.
Chase has been expanding beyond basic banking in the U.S. with its acquisition of San Francisco investment bank
Hambrecht & Quist
aggressive push into venture capital. (
Chase Capital Partners
, the VC unit, is an investor in
, publisher of this Web site.)
For Robert Fleming, the deal also would lend the family-owned, London-based bank the clout to compete for international banking and fund business, the news service said.
Fleming has 7,800 employees and manages more than $140 billion, including a $35 billion joint venture in the U.S. with Baltimore-based
T. Rowe Price
, which probably would be excluded from any transaction with Chase, Bloomberg said.