Arash Massoudi, Stephen Morris, James Fontanella-Khan, Laura Noonan and Owen Walker

Financial Times

In 2023, a banking crisis swept across the US before spilling into Europe and threatening to bring down Credit Suisse, a global bank that employs thousands of British workers and occupied one of the most iconic towers in London’s Canary Wharf. To save its own financial system and prevent calamity in global markets, Switzerland’s government controversially forced the frantic shotgun marriage of the 167-year-old bank with its larger rival UBS.

Every aspect of how the historic rescue deal came together, the most consequential banking transaction since the global financial crisis of 2008, was revealed by a team of London-based Financial Times reporters over a 48-hour period beginning on the evening of March 17th.

The FT team was first to report: the merger talks between Switzerland’s two largest banks;, a thwarted attempt by US asset manager BlackRock to interlope; emergency laws drafted by Switzerland’s government to enable the takeover to happen; details of the initial proposal made by UBS; and finally that the two banks had reached a deal by the afternoon of March 19th following an improved offer.

The FT’s reporting, which was followed widely by every major global publication each time, was so detailed and far ahead of its peers that the Swiss press spent days afterwards speculating whether the panic about its banks was an Anglo-Saxon conspiracy. Swiss authorities were soon investigating how a British newspaper was able to break such an important global story that left its own domestic media and other much better resourced international business publications scrambling to keep up.

But it was no conspiracy. The gripping, inside-the-room coverage was the culmination of years of meticulous source work by the FT reporters on how a barrage of scandals had undermined investor confidence in Credit Suisse and led it to be sold for a sliver of what it was once worth.

Over that fateful weekend in mid March, hundreds of thousands of British finance workers, regulators and politicians were glued to their phones, looking for updates on about how the deal talks were progressing. A failed takeover would have meant thousands of redundancies in the UK and huge implications for British companies that relied on their relationships with Credit Suisse for financing. If a major global lender like Credit Suisse was allowed to fold, banks across Britain would have been vulnerable to runs, as they were 15 years earlier during the financial crisis.

Within hours of UBS’s takeover being formally announced on the evening of March 19th, the FT followed up its weekend of news breaking with an in-depth and colourful read on the events leading up to the deal. The article was recently described by one Wall Street chief executive to a room full of rival journalists as “a one-page masterpiece”. It is already being used as a core text in M&A classes at MIT and Wharton business schools.