Commerzbank Open To Offers For Securities Unit

Commerzbank's investment banking unit (or what will soon be left of it) is still up for grabs for anyone who is brave, or perhaps stupid, enough to buy it. The bank's CEO, Klaus-Peter Mueller, said Tuesday that 'we continue to be open to all reasonable offers'. There is not expected to be too many firms falling over themselves to acquire the business. Loose change, anyone ?

The downsizing of the bank's overall loss-making investment banking unit was inevitable. What's left, after almost half the firm's 2,000 staff are axed, will be alligned more closely to the needs of Commerzbank's core customers and the unit will exit unprofitable areas.

There will be a bloodbath in London and New York and the division's Tokyo office is to be closed. The unit will largely abandon pan-European equity sales, trading and research and will be merged with the bank's corporate banking division. Only the investment banking staff in Germany will remain largely intact (of course). This once again underlines the fact that draconian continental European labour laws means that European banks often find it easier to wield the axe outside the Euro-zone. Employees in the UK and US often suffer as a result.

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