UniCredit plans bid for Commerzbank: FT

UniCredit plans bid for Commerzbank: FT

BENGALURU/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – UniCredit SpA is preparing a rival multi-billion-euro bid to take control of Commerzbank AG, as Deutsche Bank AG is facing troubles with its move to buy its rival German lender, the Financial Times reported on Thursday.

FILE PHOTO: A sign for an ATM of Commerzbank is seen next to the headquarters of Deutsche Bank (R) in Frankfurt, Germany, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo

The Italian lender plans to buy a sizeable stake in Commerzbank and merge it with HypoVereinsbank, the German lender it already owns, the paper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

Shares in Commerzbank were up 3.6 percent in pre-market trade by 0559 GMT, while Deutsche Bank stock was seen opening 0.4 percent higher.

UniCredit, Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank all declined to comment on the report.

The combined entity would be based in Germany while UniCredit would maintain its headquarters and listing in Milan, the report said.

Reuters reported in 2017 that UniCredit had told Berlin it was interested in eventually merging with Commerzbank, with the bank later denying having an interest in the German lender.

Germany’s two top banks, Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank, said on March 17 they were in talks to merge.

The FT’s report on UniCredit’s interest in Commerzbank comes a day after it was reported that the two German lenders were divided over the pace of their merger talks.

Commerzbank would like to see a speedy decision on whether to deepen the discussions or not, while Deutsche Bank needs more time.

The FT reported that one of the parties might decide to walk away from the talks, adding a significant announcement could be made as early as this weekend, citing people briefed on the discussions.

The Commerzbank board is due to decide on April 9 whether to intensify merger talks with Deutsche Bank or back away from a deal, German business weekly WirtschaftsWoche said on Wednesday.

Reporting by Gaurika Juneja in Bengaluru and Tom Sims in Frankfurt; Additional reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier and David Holmes

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