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Client Backlash Was Key to Deutsche Bank's Deal Collapse

  • Customer disapproval said to be decisive in spiking talks
  • Companies said uneasy at having too much business at one bank
Commerzbank And Deutsche Bank

Photographer: Thomas Trutschel/Getty Images

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Fierce resistance from corporate clients dealt a key blow to Deutsche Bank AG’s deal talks with Commerzbank AG, according to people familiar with the matter.

Many Deutsche Bank customers threatened to cut ties with Germany’s largest bank should the deal go through, said the people, asking not to be named because the details haven’t been publicly disclosed. Clients who had business with both banks were worried about going from two credit providers to one, a senior Deutsche Bank executive said on Friday.
Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing knew early on that many of his most important clients didn’t like the idea of its takeover of Commerzbank, according to the people. Some board members of large German corporations even told him so at Davos, when speculation about the deal started heating up. Still, the backlash that ensued after formal talks were announced in mid-March was intense, the people said.