Commerzbank considering sale of its custody business

Commerzbank is exploring the sale of its custodian business as CEO Martin Blessing reviews company strategy, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Frankfurt-based lender is working with UBS to help find buyers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because talks are private. The business is likely to attract strategic players already in that sector, said the people. The business might fetch more than €200 million ($261 million), they said.

Commerzbank, which might sell the business by the end of the first quarter, could also decide against a sale if the bids are deemed too low, said one of the people.

At the end of June there were 48 active custodian banks in Germany with total funds amounting to €1.2 trillion, according to the German Funds Association BVI. Commerzbank’s custodian unit had €24.4 billion in mutual funds, €46.1 billion in special funds and €20.7 billion in real estate funds under management, BVI said at the end of June.

Officials at Commerzbank and UBS declined to comment.