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Commerzbank to integrate comdirect via direct merger after cash offer expires

Commerzbank AG said the integration of comdirect bank AG into the group will now take place through a direct merger, after the deadline of its offer to acquire the remaining stake in the digital banking unit that it does not own yet expired Dec. 6.

The German lender said it will offer comdirect's shareholders Commerzbank shares in exchange for comdirect shares, following approval by both companies. The exchange ratio of the deal will be based on expert reports on the value of both entities.

In September, Commerzbank set the price for its offer to acquire the remaining stake in comdirect, as part of a new strategy dubbed Commerzbank 5.0. The group, through Commerzbank Inlandsbanken Holding GmbH, offered to pay €11.44 in cash per share for the 18% stake in comdirect, representing a 25% premium on the unit's Sept. 19 closing price.

By the end of the acceptance deadline, comdirect shareholders tendered a total of 457,343 shares, resulting in Commerzbank owing roughly 82.63% of the unit. The deal depended on a minimum 90% acceptance of the offer, including the roughly 82% stake currently held by the Frankfurt-based lender.

In November, comdirect's management and supervisory board called Commerzbank's offer price "adequate."