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Deals of the year: Western Europe

Best Equity deal

Deutsche Postbank

Deal size: €2.635 billion

Date: June 2004

Bookrunners: Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley

With damaging leaked memos, threatened lawsuits, public valuation debates and speculation that one of the bookrunners might be preparing to buy the company it was supposed to be selling, Deutsche Postbank's IPO could easily have been a humiliating public disaster for all concerned. But excellent behind-the-scenes communication and a solid plan B saved the day for Germany's largest IPO since Deutsche Börse's €988 million IPO in 2001.

Mistakes were made. A leaked internal memo from Deutsche Bank arguing that Postbank's value was less than what they were seeking from investors was embarrassing and also damaging to the interests of the client, Deutsche Post. But Deutsche Bank's decision to contemplate an offer for Postbank while trying to sell it was something forced on it by the German government and definitely not an approach that the bank would have normally taken.

The deal's troubles, however, only make its successes all the more remarkable.

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