LONDON/MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s UniCredit has put a possible bid for Commerzbank on ice as the German rival does not want to engage in negotiations so soon after the collapse of merger talks with Deutsche Bank, four sources said.
UniCredit had stepped up preparations for a potential takeover of Commerzbank by engaging Lazard and its banker Joerg Asmussen, a former German deputy finance minister, along with JP Morgan, people familiar with the matter said in May.
Prospect - Deal - Italy - Bank - Assets
That raised the prospect of a deal that would allow Italy’s largest bank by assets to shift its focus away from its struggling domestic market, a key plank of Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Mustier’s strategy.
But the advisers have had little luck discussing a possible bid with Commerzbank, which is represented by Goldman Sachs and Rothschild, and have been left on stand-by, the sources said.
Mustier - Ambitions - Backburner - Commerzbank - Space
Mustier has been forced to put his ambitions on the backburner as Commerzbank has asked for some “breathing space” and is not ready to negotiate another deal just yet, the sources said.
“Commerzbank told UniCredit they need time to think about the best course of action,” said one of the sources, who has direct knowledge of the matter.
Source - Bid - Summer - Things - Time
This source ruled out a bid being revived over the summer. He said things might change with time, although it was unclear when the Germans might be ready to sit at the table for talks with the Italian bank.
UniCredit and Commerzbank declined to comment.
UniCredit - Germany - Exposure - Home - Market
UniCredit has long been interested in expanding in Germany as it seeks to reduce its exposure toward its Italian home market, which has been weighing down its share price, several sources familiar with management’s thinking have said.
The Milan-based lender, which has a market capitalization of around 24 billion euros ($27.3 billion) compared to Commerzbank’s 8 billion euros, already owns HVB, a large...
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