Deutsche Bank bags Postbank

Deutsche Bank has managed to acquire a large stake in rival Postbank, German news agency DPA reported on Thursday, heralding a new wave of consolidation in Germany’s banking sector.

Deutsche Bank bags Postbank
The Deutsche Bank towers in Frankfurt. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Post succumbed to the advances of Germany’s largest private financial institution, agreeing to sell Deutsche Bank a 29.75 percent stake in Postbank. The €2.5-billion deal is likely to be the first step in a total takeover.

Deutsche Bank has long coveted the banking unit of Deutsche Post, since Postbank’s approximately 14.4 million customers make it the largest retail banking operation in Germany.

DPA said Deutsche Post’s management would sign off on the deal on Friday. “It’s expected to be approved,” a banking source told the news agency. Deutsche Bank will also secure the right to buy the rest of Postbank in the future, but the separate brand will continue to be used.

The news comes only weeks after Commerzbank announced it was acquiring Dresdner Bank for €9.8 billion, challenging Deutsche Bank for its primacy among German private financial institutions.

With But its market capitalization of €7 billion has fallen considerably over the past year.

Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann made no secret of his company’s interest in Postbank at a banking symposium sponsored by business daily Handelsblatt on Wednesday. “We’ve always said on the topic of Postbank that it’s an institution that would strengthen us strategically – both in the private customer sector as well as the distribution network.”


Emergency numbers fail in several German states

Callers to the emergency numbers 110 and 112 weren’t able to reach operators Thursday morning in several German states.

The 112 emergency number on an ambulance.
The 112 emergency number on an ambulance. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Boris Roessler

The emergency number 110 for police and 112 for fire crews failed around the country early Thursday morning, with callers unable to reach emergency operators for urgent assistance between about 4:30 am and 5:40 am local time.

The Office for Civil Protection and Disaster Aid is looking into these outages, which were reported in states including Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and  Brandenburg, and in major cities like Berlin, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. Cologne was further affected by cuts to electricity, drinking water, and regular telephone services. Lower Saxony also saw disruptions to the internal phone networks of police and hospitals.

Emergency services are not reporting any more disturbances and people should be able to once again reach 110 and 112 around the country as normal.

Investigators are looking into the problem, but haven’t yet established a cause or any consequences that may have happened due to the outage. Provider Deutsche Telekom says they have ruled out the possibility of an attack by hackers.