The Euro Bankers' Grand Waltz

Consolidation may soon dissolve national boundaries

In Paris, Bank of France Governor Jean-Claude Trichet struggles to broker a deal between the top executives of Banque Nationale de Paris and Societe Generale, locked in a takeover battle for five months. In Germany, Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank gingerly discuss combining their inefficient German retail operations--a precursor to a massive shakeout. Not to be outdone, on Aug. 19, P. Jan Kalff, chairman of Dutch banking giant ABN Amro Holding, declared that he is back on the acquisition trail, eyeing prominent targets in Italy and France, including Societe Generale itself.

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