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Commerzbank unit mBank to receive initial bids by mid-January 2020

Commerzbank AG is expected to receive initial offers for Polish unit mBank SA from PKO Bank Polski SA and a consortium comprising Polish insurer Powszechny Zakład Ubezpieczeń SA and unit Bank Pekao SA by mid-January 2020, Reuters reported, citing three sources.

Other entities likely to launch initial bids include Austria-based Erste Group Bank AG and France's Crédit Agricole SA, the sources said, adding that the five contenders have appointed investment banks as advisers on a potential deal.

ING Groep NV unit ING Bank Śląski SA and Banco Santander SA unit Santander Bank Polska SA had expressed an interest of taking part in the bidding, while BNP Paribas SA unit BNP Paribas Bank Polska SA did not rule out submitting an offer.

Foreign banks may be kept out of the race, given the Polish government's inclination toward a local lender buying mBank, the newswire said, citing several bank executives.

One of the people close to the auction told Reuters that Polish government-run PZU and Pekao could create more synergies in a deal with mBank, compared to a merger between PKO Bank and mBank.

Commerzbank intends to off-load its 69.3% stake in the Polish unit by the end of 2020, according to the report.