Talks over the proposed shotgun wedding between Deutsche Bank and fellow German lender Commerzbank seem to have been moving at a snail’s pace, mostly due to the fact that neither side really appears all that interested in joining forces. However, something changed on Thursday. The people holding the shotgun have developed an itchy trigger finger – and a third bank may be to blame.
First came a report from the Financial Times that UniCredit is prepping a multi-billion-dollar bid to take over a controlling interest in Commerzbank if it can’t come to a deal to merge with Deutsche Bank. The news represents the first wholly legitimate secondary option for the struggling German bank. And wouldn’t you know it, in a rare hint of optimism, a source told Reuters just a few hours later that talks between Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are “proceeding well.” Then Bloomberg jumped in, noting that the two banks are “leaning toward intensifying talks,” and that Commerzbank could decide as soon as this weekend whether it will deepen merger conversations or break them off.
If nothing else, the reported poke from Italy's UniCredit will force senior leadership at the two German banks to cancel their weekend plans, if they had any. Previous to the leaking of the possible UniCredit bid, Commerzbank’s executive board was reportedly set to discuss whether it would intensify merger talks this coming Tuesday, while Deutsche Bank Chairman Paul Achleitner earlier promised an update by April 26. It appears that timeline has now been moved up.
While some members of the German government have aggressively championed a potential merger, which would create the third biggest bank in Europe, leaders on both sides have shown apprehension. Among other potential fallouts, a deal could result in the loss of 30,000 jobs, representing more than one-fifth of the firms’ combined workforce.
Elsewhere, Goldman Sachs yesterday showed it’s still hip by sending out a #TBT tweet. The “throwback Thursday” message commemorated the bank’s longtime love affair with BlackBerry phones. “Thanks for the memories, @BlackBerry. While our days of physical smartphone keyboards are #TBT, we still [love] your mobile work apps,” the bank tweeted alongside a photo of dozens of boxes stacked to the brim with old-school BlackBerry devices. Like other banks before it, Goldman moved to ween its bankers off BlackBerry phones a few years ago after the company transitioned into solely a software provider.
Barclays is reshuffling its management team following last week’s abrupt departure of investment banking chief Tim Throsby and one of his top deputies, Art Mbanefo. Another J.P. Morgan veteran Fater Belbachir will start at Barclays in June as head of the global equities desk, while much of Mbanefo’s former team will move to the global market division. (Bloomberg)
Activist hedge fund Sarissa Capital Management has hired asset management veteran Eric Vincent as it seeks to scale the business north of $1 billion in assets. (Reuters)
A processing error with UBS’s payroll software provider resulted in the overpayment of a significant number of financial advisors in 2018. Now the wealth unit needs to figure out how (and if) it will get the money back from employees. (Advisor Hub)
The company-monogrammed fleece vest that has practically become a uniform for many traders may soon be a thing of the past. (Esquire)
Commodities hedge fund manager Pierre Andurand closed its New York office at the end of last year following a difficult 2018. (Bloomberg)
Nomura plans to cut roughly 150 jobs across the Americas and EMEA as part of its plans to cut reduce costs by $1 billion. (Bloomberg)
Jonathan Wilcox, head of UK investment banking at Jefferies, has left the bank. Wilcox’s role appeared shaky at best following the hiring of a team of dealmakers from HSBC. (Financial News)
UBS is considering a merger or partial sale of its asset management business. (Bloomberg)
Hit with a nearly $2 billion fine for failing to prevent money laundering back in 2012, HSBC has quintupled the number of employees tasked with monitoring suspicious activities of clients. All nine big banks that have been hit with similar fines have at least doubled their compliance staff following deferred prosecution settlements. (Bloomberg)
Two inebriated men were arrested this week for shooting each other while wearing bulletproof vests. (ABC)
The key to having a second child after returning to work from maternity leave? Fast Internet speed. Seriously. (Daily Mail)
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