I have only seen this story in Germany so far. The long and short is that this is a done deal. Deutsche Bank is expected to close the deal tomorrow. Helping to seal the deal is the fact that no layoffs are anticipated initially. This will make union leaders very happy, as they opposed the Commerzbank – Dresdner deal because of the layoffs it will mean.
UPDATE: The deal has now been consummated. Here is the story from Reuters.
Below is a translation of the first story I have seen confirming the deal from the Financial Times Deutschland. Meanwhile WestLB and Dekabank are talking about a merger as well. And so the consolidation of the German banking system continues.
Deutsche Bank buys a majority of Postbank
The banking branch leader is buying Deutsche Post’s share of Postbank in its entirety. The Frankfurt company is stepping in initially with almost 30%. Later the rest of the shares should follow. With that, the bank would reach a total share of 50% plus one share.
As was reported from sources close to the Post, the Frankfurt company will step in at first with 29.75 percent of Postbank. It has also been contractually agreed that Deutsche Bank will have access to the remaining shares in 12 to 36 months, bringing the total to a share of 50 percent plus one share. The Spanish bank Santander, also interested in Postbank, is out of the race, reported FTD.de. Deutsche Bank initially has not wanted to comment.
For the first tranche, the company will pay around 2.6 billion euros, which translates into 54 to 55 euros per share. Currently Postbank shares are listed at just 46 euros. The bank will continue to operate under its own. Layoffs are not planned initially, it was said. According to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur, the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Post aims to close the agreement on Friday.
The federal government has already signalled approval. “When this comes to a conclusion, it would move the consolidation of banking in Germany ahead,” said German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück. This is to be welcomed as the German banking market is too fragmented. The federal government is the largest shareholder of Postbank’s owner, Deutsche Post, and has until the end of the year a right to veto a sale.
After the agreement of a merger between Commerzbank and Dresdner Bank, it was expected that Deutsche Bank would strengthen its pursuit of Postbank. Chief Josef Ackermann even fanned the flames of speculation at a banking conference in Frankfurt on Wednesday. He indirectly confirmed the first talks with Postbank. In the evening, then Deutsche Bank said in a brief message: “Deutsche Bank confirms advanced talks with Deutsche Post for a stake in Postbank. Whether these talks lead to a conclusion, is still open.”
Entry at a “bargain price”
The entry [by Deutsche Bank into a merger] would be a deal, that would give Ackermann some breathing room in the game of poker mergers in the industry are creating, said the banking expert and professor Dirk Schiereck: “Now he holds the reins of the further consolidation of the German retail banking landscape firmly in his hand.” Ackermann is currently being offered the opportunity to get in at a “bargain price”. Since the beginning of this year, Postbank shares have lost the about 27 percent in value on the Dax.