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Could it be true that Deutsche Bank was considering a bid for JP Morgan in mid-August? Deutsche was supposedly offering $175 a share in cash, 49% above the closing price the day before. But pooled accounting is forbidden by German law, so Deutsche's capital ratios would have fallen to an unsustainable and illegal level had the deal gone ahead. And Deutsche's recent history is hardly such as to endear Morgan's chief executive, Sandy Warner, and his senior staff to a link-up.

Adding fuel to the rumour, there was no sign of Morgan's top three earlier that week. Warner, chief financial officer Tony Mayer and chief operating officer Tom Ketchum were all said to be on vacation. So too was vice-chairman and global head of investment banking Walter Gubert. A coincidence? Or were they all vacationing together? But surely not sailing down the Rhine. And if they were all holidaying, who was minding the shop? Morris Black

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