* Says decision follows appraisal process over longer period of time
* Says executive board decided unanimously on Friday
* Sources told Reuters the two sides had held talks
* Move would have mirrored Allianz’ purchase of Bayern stake (Adds background on Deutsche strategy, details on Dortmund)
By Ludwig Burger
FRANKFURT, June 6 (Reuters) - Germany’s largest lender Deutsche Bank said on Friday it had considered taking a stake in German first-division soccer club Borussia Dortmund but decided against it.
“The executive board of Deutsche Bank has decided unanimously today not to take a stake in Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund at the moment, following an appraisal process over a longer period of time,” a spokesman said in a written statement.
He declined to comment further.
Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier on Friday that Deutsche was considering taking a stake or entering a marketing alliance with the soccer club.
Deutsche is no stranger to Germany’s only stock-market listed soccer club as it helped organise the club’s initial public offering in 2000.
But taking direct stakes in companies has long fallen out of fashion at Deutsche Bank. A web of shareholdings between German companies known as “Deutschland AG” or Germany Inc., with Deutsche and insurer Allianz among the main hubs, started dissolving in the 1990s.
Borussia Dortmund, from Germany’s rust belt Ruhr valley region, is seen as the only German club in a position to currently challenge Bayern Munich’s dominance in German professional football.
Dortmund, Bundesliga champion in 2011 and 2012, finished second behind Bayern Munich in Germany’s top league this season and also lost to Bayern in the cup final.
Dortmund’s current shirt sponsor is chemicals maker Evonik .
By talking with Deutsche, Dortmund may have been trying to take a page from rival Bayern’s playbook in seeking more corporate backing.
Insurer Allianz in February took an 8.33 percent stake in Bayern Munich for 110 million euros ($150 million) as part of a deal to help the club pay down debts on its stadium and to sponsor a youth academy.
The deal gave the unlisted club an implied valuation of 1.32 billion euros, more than five times Dortmund’s market value of 250 million euros.
Sportswear maker Adidas and car maker Audi also hold minority stakes in Bayern Munich.
German magazine Bilanz on Thursday reported that Deutsche Bank’s co-CEO Juergen Fitschen had held talks over an alliance with Dortmund managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke.
Business daily Handelsblatt on Friday cited company sources as saying Deutsche might buy a 10 percent stake as part of a capital increase at the football club, whose stock is due to enter Germany’ small-cap index SDAX this month.
$1 = 0.7332 Euros Reporting by Ludwig Burger, Kathrin Jones and Andreas Kroener, editing by David Evans