NEW YORK: French lender BNP Paribas plans to bid for Deutsche Bank's equity derivatives book and is hopeful it can beat off rival bidders to secure a deal in the next few weeks, according to sources familiar with the matter.
Deutsche Bank is selling the portfolio as part of a restructuring that will see it exit equities trading and other unwanted businesses and shed 18,000 staff globally. Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing is hoping the plan will turn around the bank, whose shares hit a record low this month.
Deutsche Bank plans to auction its equity derivatives portfolio next month having received significant expressions of interest from banks, private equity firms and hedge funds, the sources told Reuters. It may sell the book in separate tranches rather than in its entirety, they said.
BNP is already close to taking control of Deutsche Bank's prime brokerage business, which serves hedge fund clients. A preliminary deal was struck in July which is expected to be formalized early next month. Any equity derivatives deal would be separate from that transaction, the sources said.
BNP and Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
Reuters reported last month that Deutsche Bank's derivatives exposure is tying up capital that could have generated income of 500 million euros a year. Reuters also reported the bank has set aside over 1 billion euros to cover the cost of offloading derivatives moved to its so-called "bad bank," or capital restructuring unit to be wound down or sold.
The restructuring has seen the bank hive off 288 billion euros of assets into the bad bank. Equities, including equity derivatives, accounted for around 170 billion euros of those assets. Fixed-income assets, including long-dated interest rate and credit derivatives, accounted for 79 billion euros.
The equity derivatives are short-dated and expected to attract a lot of interest from buyers, meaning Deutsche Bank may not have to take a discount to offload them. The bank's longer-dated interest rate and credit derivatives are expected to be much harder to sell, as they require high levels of capital to be held against them, and could require deep writedowns, sources familiar with the situation said.
BNP expressed its interest in Deutsche Bank's equity derivatives business earlier this year but the German lender decided against entering into exclusive talks having also received interest from other parties, sources told Reuters.
Deutsche Bank is under pressure to complete the prime brokerage deal quickly or risk losing clients. Barclay is looking to take on a US$20 billion portion of the US$200 billion business, sources told Reuters last month.
Deutsche Bank plans to close the prime brokerage deal in the first half of September and to begin the auction of its equity derivatives book shortly afterwards, the sources said. The deals are expected to take months to complete as buyers take over individual client accounts.
(Reporting by Matt Scuffham; Editing by Tom Brown)