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Deutsche and Dresdner bank: Into the blender

On March 9, Deutsche Bank and Dresdner Bank announced a “merger of equals” in a deal which could leave insurer Allianz owning and controlling their retail network. Deutsche and Dresdner said they will be “blending the best” to create a winning investment and private banking giant, but insiders fear another UBS-style massacre. Who devised this millennium deal and will it work? Early reports suggest there are many on both sides who wish the whole thing had never been started. David Shirreff reports


Monday March 27. Hermann-Josef Lamberti, Deutsche Bank board member in charge of global technology and services is hosting an offsite meeting in the Sheraton at Frankfurt airport.

The mix is about 70% Deutsche Bank people, 30% Dresdner. Lamberti reassures the troops on both sides: there's no dogma about which structure will prevail in my line of business, global transactions. But the underlying message is clear: Deutsche Bank's IT system will prevail, and Dresdner's will go onto the scrapheap of history, along with its specialist operators.

The day, which started friendly, "ended with a lot of long green faces", says one eye-witness, referring to Dresdner's corporate colour. Gerhard Barth, Lamberti's nearest counterpart on the Dresdner side, was due to make a closing speech at the evening gathering in Frankfurt's Mess-Turm, but he had long since fled with his tail between his legs.

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