Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank Resume Merger Talks, Focus Says

(Bloomberg) -- The top executives of Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG have resumed discussions on a possible merger of the two lenders, the German magazine Focus reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter.

Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing has been in intense talks with Commerzbank CEO Martin Zielke for some days, after receiving a mandate from their management and supervisory boards, according to Focus.

The idea of a merger between Germany’s two biggest banks has been pushed by German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz as a way of creating a “national champion” to serve the backbone of the country’s export economy.

Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank Resume Merger Talks, Focus Says

In September, Sewing said his bank was open to a merger, but only once it boosts its profitability over the following 18 months. The lender’s ability to avoid a merger with Commerzbank could rest on its performance in the first quarter of 2019, Bloomberg reported in January.

Revenue shrank for an eighth consecutive quarter in the final months of last year, leading Sewing to pledge yet more cost cuts.

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