Wells Fargo (WFC) has agreed to buy a subscription finance portfolio with $6 billion in commitments from WestLB, European commercial bank based in Germany.

The San Francisco bank, like some of its competitors, has been opting to buy niche businesses, such as specialty lenders, insurance brokerages and asset-management firms, rather than whole banks. It has not made a whole bank acquisition in more than three years.

Subscription financing provides revolving and term loans in addition to letters of credit mainly to private equity and real estate investment funds. The financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close in the second quarter, were not disclosed, Wells Fargo said Monday.

"We have been growing our subscription finance business organically for many years," Julie Caperton, head of asset-backed finance and securitization, said in a press release. "This acquisition enhances our position in the marketplace and provides our clients with dedicated customer service as well as Wells Fargo's strength, stability and broad product set."

Wells Fargo has hired Dee Dee Sklar, former head of WestLB's subscription finance group, to run its subscription finance business. Sklar will report to Mary Katherine DuBose, head of corporate debt finance for Wells Fargo, and will lead a team of 14, including eight former WestLB employees.

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