Goldman Sachs, SocGen Said to Submit Commerzbank Unit Bids

(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA have submitted final bids for the Commerzbank AG unit that houses the lender’s exchange-traded fund business, according to people familiar with the situation.

Barclays Plc, which was said to be interested in the Equity Markets & Commodities unit, has dropped out of the process, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing the private deal. Commerzbank plans to pick the winning offer next month, two people said. Bank officials declined to comment.

Commerzbank put the EMC unit up for sale last year as it scales back trading and focuses on lending to retail and corporate clients. Chief Financial Officer Stephan Engels previously said he would like to complete the sale this year. The business generated 381 million euros ($466 million) in revenue annually and was the only unit inside Commerzbank’s corporate clients division to see income rise.

Germany’s second-largest lender had earlier explored the option for an IPO of the unit, however the business appeared to be too small as a standalone public company, people familiar with the matter have said. During recent months, it had been working on separating the unit from the rest of the bank while it explored the different options.

Potential bidders that were looking at the unit were generally more interested in the ETF trading operations of EMC but Commerzbank would expect a buyer to acquire all of its market-making business, people familiar with the situation have said.

Commerzbank trades more European ETFs than any of its investment-banking rivals. Only Dutch firm Flow Traders NV and its U.S. rival Jane Street Financial Ltd. trade more of the securities. Despite their name, most exchange-traded products are traded away from stock exchanges in direct deals between specialist firms and their counterparties.

Commerzbank shares fell 0.7 percent to 12.75 euros in Frankfurt trading on Wednesday.

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