International Finance

UniCredit to realise German ambition with Commerzbank bid

UniCredit, Commerzbank, JP Morgan, Lazard
The bid comes in an effort to manifest the Italian global banking firm's long-term expansion plans in Germany

Italian global banking and financial services company UniCredit is preparing for a potential bid for Commerzbank, a major German bank headquartered in Frankfurt. UniCredit is preparing for the bid by bringing in senior investment bankers including a former top German official, Reuters said. After the announcement, Commerzbank shares rose 4.7 percent and UniCredit shares went down 2.4 percent.

UniCredit has involved financial advisory firm Lazard and its banker Joerg Asmussen, who is a German economist and politician, in addition to JP Morgan for a potential takeover of Commerzbank. The deal could encourage UniCredit to divert from its weak market conditions.

However, UniCredit in a statement told Reuters that no banking mandate has been signed in relation to any potential market operation. The bank emphasised that its new business plan will be unveiled on December 3, 2019.

For a long time, UniCredit has shown significant interest in expanding its business presence in Germany. The bank already owns Hypovereinsbank (HVB), the fifth-largest of the German financial institutions by its total assets.

Besides UniCredit, Deutsche Bank has also shown interest in Commerzbank, sources close to the matter said. UniCredit Chief Executive Jean Pierre Mustier has hired Lazard in the hopes that Asmussen can help with the deal along with German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz. Both of them have enough pull in the German Social Democrat Party.

After graduating in business administration at Milan’s Bocconi University, Asmussen has also served on the executive board of the European Central Bank (ECB) and as state secretary at the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.

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