Dresdner, Commerzbank — a deal nobody likes?

September 1, 2008

rtr20qy8.jpgWhen stock markets this morning traded the news that Allianz had sold Dresdner Bank to Commerzbank, shares in both companies were down, defying stock market logic. Maybe nobody likes the deal?

Dresdner Kleinwort, the anaemic investment bank that raked up billions of credit write-downs, is not the jewel in the crown Commerzbank was looking for. Commerzbank slashed its own investment bank years ago and has said it will also scale down Dresdner Kleinwort.

Allianz is pulling the plug on bancassurance, a model that some say doesn’t work — though others have succesfully executed it. But the timing seems odd: selling a bank would probably have been a lot easier 18 months ago.

With a 30 percent stake in Commerzbank, it remains exposed to the banking sector in a substantial way. And it will need to put money aside for possible further writedowns.

To the up-side: overbanked Germany will have a second large bank, and a rival to Deutsche. Consolidation in the country is long overdue and the deal with Dresdner is a major step.

Investment bankers may cheer the fact there were some fees to be made in a rare banking deal. Though bankers at Dresdner Kleinwort — whose Kleinwort tag is one of the City’s most venerable — will have little to cheer, with thousands of job cuts announced.

One comment

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Commerzbank is still the second largest bank in germany, this deal weathered the storm. This banking arrangement will still be here in the end after domestic counterparts like bank of america have faltered in the fray.

It is amazing Dresdner was able to last with all of its write downs on the books.

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