A potential big bank combination.
Bloomberg News reports that a year ago, executives at Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank held talks about a potential combination, only to abandon them shortly after to try and go it alone. Now investors are asking if a U.S. buyout firm could make Germany’s largest banks change their minds.
The shares of both lenders extended gains Thursday, a day after billionaire Stephen Feinberg’s Cerberus Capital Management disclosed owning 3% in Deutsche Bank. The new stake, first reported by Bloomberg, comes just months after Cerberus took a slightly bigger stake in Commerzbank and makes the U.S. firm a top shareholder of both banks.
While Feinberg’s firm probably wouldn’t be able to force a deal on its own, it’s entering the fray at a time when both lenders struggle to revive revenue growth after scaling back risk in their investment banks and focusing more on their home market. Banks in Italy and France have reached out to the German government, the biggest shareholder in Commerzbank after bailing it out in 2009, to signal interest.
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