The head of Deutsche Bank, Christian Sewing, has stated that merging with Commerzbank is not a priority for the bank. Sewing made the comments in an interview with CNBC, quashing speculation of a merger. A report earlier this week said that the two German banks had restarted merger talks after they were called off five years ago. A source told Reuters that merging with Commerzbank would allow Deutsche Bank to pivot further away from investment banking earnings and make it a more attractive buyer to the German government.
The potential merger could create a combined bank with around $2tn in assets. Deutsche Bank is not prioritising a merger with Commerzbank, according to its CEO Christian Sewing. While he believes mergers and acquisitions in Europe’s banking industry must happen at some point, he said several preconditions still needed to be met before this took place. The head of Germany’s largest bank was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he discussed the challenges of linking Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank’s assets, as well as the new banking union and sharp increases in interest rates.
Deutsche Bank owner requests delay to shareholder payout approval recommendation
According to resources, Deutsche Bank is understood to have asked the European Central Bank (ECB) to postpone the first advisory board meeting regarding shareholder payout approval to enable it to have more time to convince regulators and investors it can improve its business. Earlier this week, Deutsche Bank revealed it is proposing a rare step of reducing its common dividend to help pay for a costlier-than-expected $7.2bn legal settlement in the US. The proposed move would replace last year’s €0.19 per share cash payment with a mixture of shares and cash. Deutsche Bank originally had hopes for a significant common dividend payment prior to the announcement of the settlement, following a 53% crash of its share price last year, investors fear the bank will need to ask shareholders for money in the upcoming rights offer. Skeptics are suggesting the ECB may force Deutsche Bank to sell new shares to complete regulatory requirements.