Dresdner calls off Commerzbank deal

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The Independent Online

Hansgeorg Hofmann, the former Dresdner Bank executive who has built up a hostile 17 per cent stake in Germany's Commerzbank, said he was resuming the search for a foreign buyer for Commerzbank following yesterday's collapse of merger talks with Dresdner.

Hansgeorg Hofmann, the former Dresdner Bank executive who has built up a hostile 17 per cent stake in Germany's Commerzbank, said he was resuming the search for a foreign buyer for Commerzbank following yesterday's collapse of merger talks with Dresdner.

The talks broke down after six weeks over the inability of the banks to come up with terms that would satisfy their big shareholders, in particular Allianz, the insurance giant which owns 21 per cent of Dresdner.

Mr Hofmann, who suffered a setback last week after the German banking regulator blocked him from exercising the voting rights he and his partners had amassed, said before he boarded a plane from Frankfurt to London yesterday: "We'll certainly see if we can get something together. We will certainly have conversations with the people we talked to before Commerzbank started talking with Dresdner."

Mr Hofmann quit Dresdner Bank after an alleged tax evasion scandal, came out publicly against attempts by Martin Kohlhaussen, the Commerzbank chief executive, to strike a deal with his former employer, insisting that a takeover of Commerzbank by a foreign bank would create more value.

UK-based HSBC which earlier this week completed its purchase of France's Crédit Commercial de France was linked with Commerzbank earlier this year and has been open about its desire to use CCF as a bridgehead into the eurozone. However, analysts said a French or Swiss bank such as Société Générale or Credit Suisse might be a more obvious buyer.

Dresdner said yesterday that it was not in talks with BNP-Paribas with whom it has a cross-shareholding arrangement about deepening the co-operation.

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