Deutsche Bank stock surges after government looks at Commerzbank merger idea

deutsche bankA statue is pictured in front of the former head quarters of Germany's largest business bank, Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt, January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

  • German government officials are said to have had high-level discussions about the possibility of merging Deutsche Bank with fellow lender Commerzbank.
  • Deutsche Bank's shares rose 6.2% on the news having fallen more than 50% so far this year after numerous scandals rocked the lender.

Deutsche Bank's difficult year may well end with some festive cheer after all.

The German government is increasing its efforts to aid Deutsche Bank with officials said to be looking at different ways the bank could merge with Commerzbank more easily. Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Deutsche Bank's CEO Christian Sewing - appointed in April - are said to have discussed possibilities, according to Bloomberg.

Deutsche Bank shares rose as much as 8.5% on the news and are up 6.2% as of 4.50 p.m in London (11.50 EST) while Commerzbank rose 5.9%.

The talks are said to have included conversations about changing existing laws to make the potential merger cheaper with a change to tax laws a possibility. Deutsche Bank could become a holding company to make a potential merger smoother although this could create a large tax burden on the lender if it's required to revalue assets. Making German tax legislation less disadvantageous to holding structures is among the topics discussed in the high-level talks.

Deutsche Bank shares have fallen more than 50% in 2018, hitting record lows on numerous occasions.

Takeover or merger talk is nothing new for Deutsche. Last month, Citigroup CEO Michael Corbat reportedly told German business publication Manager Magazin that there was too much "overlap" between Citigroup's and Deutsche Bank's businesses, and that a takeover based purely on cost savings wasn't a good idea.

A combined German lender is said to have been on the country's agenda for a while in an attempt to prevent the exodus of foreign capital from the economy and create a banking heavyweight.

Deutsche Bank has been embroiled in scandals throughout 2018 and its Frankfurt headquarters were recently raided by the German public prosecutor's office as part of an investigation into the Panama Papers global money-laundering scandal.

Similarly, Deutsche Bank was last month named as the bank at the centre of a $150 billion money-laundering scandal centred on Danske Bank's operations in Estonia. It's alleged that Deutsche Bank processed a large chunk of money for Danske Bank from Russia into international markets via Tallinn between 2007 and 2015.

Deutsche Bank declined to comment. Commerzbank didn't immediately respond to enquiries.

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