More Banking Consolidation in Germany Deutsche Bank Pounces on Postbank

Germany's banking sector is about to see its second mega-deal in as many weeks. Deutsche Bank is in advanced talks aimed at taking over Postbank, Germany's biggest retail bank. The acquisition of an initial 30 percent stake is expected to be sealed by the end of the week.

Deutsche Bank has its eye on Postbank, hoping to buy a major stake this week.
Getty Images; AP

Deutsche Bank has its eye on Postbank, hoping to buy a major stake this week.

Germany's biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, is in advanced talks to buy a major stake in retail bank Postbank in what could be the second banking tie-up in Germany since Commerzbank's acqusition of Dresdner Bank was announced late last month.

Postbank is Germany's biggest retail bank with around 14.4 million customers, making it an attractive buy for Deutsche Bank as it strives to defend its territory from an expected increase in competition from the merged Commerzbank/Dresdener Bank.

Deutsche and Postbank confirmed on Wednesday night that they had been holding advanced talks but added that it was open whether those talks would lead to a deal.

Banking insiders however say it's likely they will reach an agreement before Friday, when the supervisory board of Postbank's majority owner, mail and logistics group Deutsche Post, is scheduled to hold a meeting.

The banks have been discussing a deal for months but the talks had been obstructed by the financial market crisis, falling share prices and disagreements on the purchase price of the Postbank stake. The market value of Postbank has fallen to around €7 billion from €10 billion earlier in the year.

The General-Anzeiger newspaper in Bonn, where Postbank is based, reported that Deutsche Bank planned to buy a 29.75 percent in Postbank in a first step and secure an option to also buy the remaining Postbank shares owned by Deutsche Post, which holds 50 percent plus one share in the bank. The newspaper report said Deutsche Bank's supervisory board had already approved the offer.

Deutsche Bank has been under increasing pressure to agree the Postbank deal in recent weeks after Commerzbank made its move on Dresdner, which kick-started a new round of long-overdue consolidation in Germany's fragmented banking sector.

Business daily Handelsblatt reported that the 29.75 percent stake in Postbank would cost Deutsche around €2.1 billion.

Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Josef Ackermann reiterated his interest in Postbank on Wednesday when he told a banking conference in Frankfurt: "Regarding Postbank we always said that Postbank is a bank that could strengthen us in many strategic aspects -- both in the retail banking market and in the distribution network. Nothing has changed about that."

cro -- with wire reports


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