BNP Paribas’ chairman dampens merger of Germany’s Commerzbank with France’s BNP Paribas

Despite Jean Lemierre choosing to keep his cards close to his chest, media reports points to a potential merger which could be the choice to safeguard against a potential takeover bid.

On Friday, Jean Lemierre, BNP Paribas’ chairman chose to dampen rather than fuel speculation on France’s biggest bank entering into a tie-up with Germany’s Commerzbank.

“We are good friends. But we are friends. Competitors. And we like it,” said Lemierre at a banking conference in response to a question. “No more, no rumor, no comment,” he said.

Several sources close to the matter at hand had stated last month, Germany’s Commerzbank was working with two investment banks to fend of a takeover bid from a European rival.

The German government, with a 15.6% stake, has denied a report stating it preferred the merger of Commerzbank with France’s BNP Paribas.

In what could be a related incident, Italy’s UniCredit has recently conveyed, it is interested in eventually merging with Commerzbank, said sources close to the matter at hand.

Investments made by U.S. buyout fund, Cerberus, in both Deutsche Bank and in Commerzbank have added fuel to the fire. Speculation is rife that an eventual merger between the two is on the cards.

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