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Report: Germany exploring ways to aid potential Deutsche Bank-Commerzbank merger

Germany's government is in high-level talks to find ways on how it could assist a potential merger between Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, Bloomberg News reported Dec. 12, citing people familiar with the matter.

Shares in Deutsche Bank closed 8.79% higher Dec. 12 in Frankfurt, while Commerzbank's share price increased 6.06%.

Deutsche Bank is reportedly considering converting to a holding company structure in a move that will enable it to merge all or parts of the company in the event of a crisis.

The current discussions, which have involved German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and Deutsche Bank CEO Christian Sewing, include potentially amending German laws to reduce the tax burden for the creation of such a structure and thus make the potential tie-up cheaper, the sources said.

The talks are in an exploratory phase, with other methods of fixing Deutsche Bank — such as seeking fresh investment from existing or new shareholders — are also being considered, according to the report.

Sewing has said Deutsche Bank could consider potential M&A deals only after it makes progress on profitability over the next 18 months, but has privately indicated that he will reconsider that timeline should it become clear that he will fail to reach his goals, Bloomberg said.

The government was previously reported to be supportive of a potential merger, but experts have suggested that a deal is difficult to imagine in the short term, as it would not solve the lenders' underlying problems and drag out already-lengthy restructuring programs.