Goldman Sachs, Britain’s Barclays Bank and French bank Société Générale have all expressed an interest in buying the Equities, Markets and Commodities division of Commerzbank, Germany’s struggling second largest bank, according to people familiar with the matter.
Commerzbank had said in March 2017 that it was spinning off the unit and was considering bringing it to market through an initial public offering. The EMC unit includes Commerzbank’s exchange-traded-funds (ETF) portfolio as well as equity derivatives and other market making activities.
CEO Martin Zielke announced in September 2016 that the bank, which had to be bailed out by the German government during the financial crisis, was changing its strategy to focus on private wealth management and catering to its corporate customers in Germany’s influential Mittlestand, the business segment that includes mainly family-owned medium-sized companies. He announced around 10,000 layoffs to reduce the bank’s overhead.
People familiar with the matter said that a number of banks had expressed interest in buying Commerzbank’s ETF portfolio, but that Mr. Zielke had made clear that he wanted to sell the division as a single unit. It has 450 employees in Frankfurt and 150 staff in London.