Banco Santander will hire about 130 staff from Peregrine's international equities division as it seeks to build an Asian brokerage and corporate finance business. The Spanish bank has secured regulatory and court approval to buy the division while Banque Nationale de Paris' (BNP) offer for Peregrine's Hong Kong and China equity team remains stuck in court. 'There has been a fair amount of semaphoring on the BNP ship while the Santander liner sailed out of port,' said Santander Investment Asia's new head of equities, Andrew Jamieson. Santander Investment Securities global head of equities, Jose Antonio Diaz, would not disclose the sum paid, but described it as 'a pretty damned good deal'. It is understood the provisional liquidator secured about US$20 million, including about $6 million for the equity franchise. The former Peregrine operation will be absorbed into Santander Investment's global emerging markets business with research, sales and execution integrated with other offices. The Madrid-based bank would run its Asian operations from Hong Kong and Singapore, and had no plans to seek joint ventures with former regional offices of Peregrine Investments, said Mr Diaz. Peregrine's offices in London and New York would be maintained. Peregrine's strategist Christopher Wood will become Santander Investment's chief global strategist.