Postbank sale

Deutsche's Dilemma

For sale, subject to terms and conditions.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The German government’s recommendation is not binding but it presents a dilemma for Deutsche Bank as it rules out a lucrative sale to a Chinese bidder and could lead to more job losses.

  • Facts


    • Deutsche Bank is considering selling Postbank as part of its strategy to focus on investment banking.
    • Postbank is one of Germany’s largest retail banks with 1,100 branches.
    • Potentail buyers include Santander in Spain, BNP of France and several Chinese banks.
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The message to Deutsche Bank is clear: If it is going to sell its retail subsidiary Postbank, it should do so to a European partner.

The verdict was delivered after talks between Germany’s biggest bank and officials at the country’s Chancellery and Finance Ministry. Jürgen Fitschen and Paul Achleitner, the bank’s co-CEO and chairman, were told that the government supported Deutsche Bank’s planned realignment strategy, but that the sale of Postbank could be a sticking point.

It is only a request, not an explicit demand to which the bank would be bound. But it isn’t easy to ignore. “For Deutsche Bank, this all but rules out the involvement of a bank or financial investor from outside the E.U., such as from China, India or Russia,” say insiders at Deutsche Bank.

Finance ministry officials stress that the government did not make “any specific demands” on Deutsche Bank. According to government insiders, this is ultimately the company’s decision and not that of lawmakers.

The government’s involvement is not unusual. In recent years, the Chancellery and finance ministry have repeatedly contributed their ideas on the restructuring of the German banking sector. This was the case when Deutsche Bank first invested in Postbank in 2008, and when Dresdner Bank was sold to Commerzbank, Germany’s second-largest bank, in the same year, just before the bankruptcy of American investment bank Lehman Brothers.

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