Macaskill on markets: Is Axel Weber the Otto von Bismarck of banking?
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Macaskill on markets: Is Axel Weber the Otto von Bismarck of banking?

The chairman of UBS seems determined to force a wave of European banking consolidation. A merger of his firm with Credit Suisse may not be possible, but other deals are likely.


Axel Weber’s views on the need for European bank mergers have achieved unusual prominence recently.

One media report revealing board level discussion of a possible merger between UBS and Credit Suisse was followed by a separate article disclosing that Weber has a wish list of potential partners that also features Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas.

Then at a Bank of America financial services conference in late September, a trio of senior bankers used their virtual appearances to echo the opinion that European banking consolidation is inevitable.

Two of these executives – Credit Suisse chief executive Thomas Gottstein and Deutsche’s chief financial officer James von Moltke – might hope to win senior roles in a Weber-sponsored European mega-bank; while the third – departing UBS chief executive Sergio Ermotti – is serving his final months at the pleasure of his chairman, Weber.

It was almost as though Weber had sent his lieutenants into the field in a coordinated attempt to speed the pace of a long-awaited wave of banking mergers.

Weber (below) may not need to go as far as mounting a diversionary bid for BNP Paribas if his real target is a merger of UBS and Deutsche

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