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UBS AG said on Monday it had formed a 50/50 joint venture with closely-held private equity firm MerchantBridge to make private equity investments focused on the Middle East region.

The two firms said the Dubai-based joint venture, MerchantBridge-UBS Private Equity, expected to initiate its strategy in the first quarter of 2009, targeting $500 million in investments. It said the joint venture would be seeded with $40 million from each partner.

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