UBS said approached about buying stake in rival

For Sale

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble has spoken to the chairman of UBS about the possibility of the bank buying the government's remaining stake in Commerzbank.

Reuters reports that Focus magazine, citing no sources, said Schaeuble had held exploratory talks with Axel Weber, a former Bundesbank chief who is now chairman of UBS, about the sale of the 17% stake in Germany's second-biggest firm.

Some analysts say if Berlin had wanted to sell its stake to UBS or another bank, it would have made more sense to do so while it held a 25% stake that gives it substantial control over the bank as a blocking minority.

The move to relinquish that blocking minority has made it easier for rivals to buy Commerzbank, but CEO Martin Blessing has said he expects no rapid sectoral consolidation due to a climate in which regulators prefer smaller banks.

Commerzbank's stock has been under pressure in the last couple of weeks. One reason has been speculation that it might be forced into fire sales of some of its ship portfolio while ratings agency Moody's has also commented negatively on the bank's prospects.

Commerzbank and UBS declined to comment on the report.

Hit the link below to access the complete Reuters article:

Berlin approached UBS about buying Commerzbank stake - magazine

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image: © Valerie Everett

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