Deutsche Bank drops plan to sell parts of DKB

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The Independent Online

Staff at Dresdner Kleinwort Benson are expecting Deutsche Bank to announce today that it will drop plans to sell off parts of the business and push ahead with its original scheme to integrate the two investment banking operations.

Full integration will almost certainly mean large parts of DKB's trading and equity broking operations - where there is huge overlap with those of Deutsche - will be either closed down or allowed to wither on the vine. The issue of what to do about DKB, which has 4,000 staff, had been expected to dominate a meeting of the Deutsche Bank management board tomorrow.Insiders said last night that pressure has been mounting on senior management to put an end to the uncertainty in the wake of Tuesday's defection of the seven-man utilities research team headed by Tim White to rival Schroders Salomon Smith Barney.

Mr White was so incensed by what has been going on inside DKB since the announcement last month of Deutsche's takeover of Dresdner that he broke off a skiing holiday in the Sierra Nevada, Spain, to hand in his resignation personally on Monday.

DKB staff have also been badly unsettled by the semi-public rowing between Rolf Breuer, Deutsche's chief executive and Josef Ackermann, Deutsche's head of investment banking. Mr Ackermann is widely believed to have his eye on Dr Breuer's job.

"We had been expecting something on Friday after the board meeting, but now it looks like Frankfurt is going to have come out with something sooner," one banker said last night.

Added another: "That defection is not significant in itself. But everybody must now realise that whatever they have done in terms of handcuffs has not worked."

Rival banks have been queueing up to express interest in parts of DKB since Rolf Breuer, the Deutsche Bank chief executive, reversed thrust last month after initially ruling out a sale.

However, almost without exception, their interest has been in the corporate finance division headed by Tim Shacklock, precisely the part of the business that both Mr Ackermann and Dr Breuer have been anxious to keep. The business has had a spectacular run recently, having advised NatWest on its bid defence, and Norwich Union, the insurer, on its merger with CGU.

Banks that have expressed serious interest in buying DKB's corporate finance business include JP Morgan, SG Hambros and BNP Paribas.