FRANKFURT, April 4 UniCredit's German
unit HVB is mulling options for its online broker business DAB
Bank, including a possible sale, an internet-based
newspaper reported on Friday.
HVB has hired U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley to
evaluate strategic options for DAB, the Wall Street Journal
Germany said on its Internet site, citing people familiar with
the matter. HVB could also keep DAB, the people told the paper.
DAB, Germany's oldest online broker with a market
capitalisation of nearly 350 million euros ($479 million), is 81
percent owned by HVB, with the rest in free float.
HVB said it would not comment on market rumours linked to
DAB, whose share closed up 2.9 percent on Friday.
"In principle, we are continuously analysing our bank's
share holdings, including strategic options such as sales and
acquisitions," an HVB spokeswoman said.
Morgan Stanley declined comment. DAB was not immediately
available for comment.
The online broker, which has around 621,000 customers, saw
net profit fall by a third last year to around 12.3 million
euros, hurt by the effects of low interest rates on net interest
income, trading and investment.
Other financial players are already well on their way to
restructuring their positions in Germany's low margin and
crowded banking sector.
State-rescued lender Hypo Real Estate has
attracted three final bids for its public finance unit Depfa
Bank and is likely to pick a buyer within the next
couple of weeks, sources familiar with the process told Reuters
In addition, private equity investor Lone Star is expected
to receive bids from some large European banks for corporate
bank IKB, one of Germany's high-profile victims of the
financial crisis, two people familiar with the transaction told
Reuters on Friday.
($1 = 0.7303 Euros)
(Reporting by Jonathan Gould and Hans Seidenstuecker; Editing
by Anthony Barker)