Crédit Agricole SA CEO Philippe Brassac said the French lender would be interested in Germany's Commerzbank AG should it be put up for sale, Reuters reported Oct. 9, citing an interview with German newspaper Handelsblatt published the previous day.
"If such a big institute like Commerzbank were really to be on the market, we would surely have to analyze it as one of the significant institutes in the eurozone," Brassac reportedly told Handelsblatt. He noted that although Crédit Agricole's current strategy is to focus on organic growth until 2019, "this doesn't mean that we wouldn't take a look at interesting possibilities."
Commerzbank became the subject of merger speculation after reports emerged that Italy's UniCredit SpA and France's BNP Paribas SA might be interested in merging with the German bank or buying the 15.6% stake held by the government in the lender.
UniCredit has since rejected the idea that it is interested in merging with Commerzbank as "nonsense," while Germany's government denied a report saying it was leaning toward merging Commerzbank with BNP Paribas, adding that it was not in discussions to sell its stake in the bank.