(Bloomberg) — Deutsche Bank AG Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing didn’t rule out considering a takeover as early as next year if the lender’s share price recovers, while saying the priority remains implementing his turnaround plan.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg TV, Sewing said he was “laser-focused” on executing on his four-year strategy, which runs through 2022. But pushed on whether that means no deal before then, the CEO said the key phase of the bank’s transformation will actually be completed within the next three months.
Christian Sewing on Sept. 2.
Photographer: Alex Kraus/Bloomberg
“We’ve said 2019 and 2020 are the key years” of the restructuring, he said in the interview. While Sewing didn’t say if and when he’s willing to consider big deals, he reiterated he wouldn’t want to be the takeover target in any transaction. If the bank’s valuation were to recover, “we then have a different position, a better position,” the CEO said.
The comments come as the coronavirus pandemic has reignited takeovers and fueled deal chatter in boardrooms across the continent. UBS Group AG Chairman Axel Weber has drawn up a wish list of potential merger candidates, with Deutsche Bank among the most favored scenarios, Bloomberg reported last month. The two lenders briefly held informal talks last year and Sewing, too, privately favors a deal with UBS, Bloomberg News has reported.
“Consolidation needs to happen in Europe,” Sewing said in the interview. But for Deutsche Bank, “it’s important that we’re not a junior partner.” The CEO also pointed out that most of the recent deals in European banking have been domestic, because regulatory obstacles to cross-border consolidation remain.
For now, Deutsche Bank’s market value would