Several big German companies are worried that the country's largest bank, Deutsche Bank, could fall prey to a foreign rival. According to a report by the
Financial Times Deutschland, representatives of top businesses such as Deutsche Telekom, Munich Re, SAP, Allianz, Siemens and DaimlerChrysler, have written to Chancellor Gerhard Schröder voicing their concerns and urging that the bank remain in German hands. The company leaders argued Germany needed a "national champion" bank able to conduct international business from home. The newspaper quoted government sources as saying Berlin was essentially in favor of a consolidation of the banking sector, even on a European level, but was opposed to hostile takeovers. Deutsche Bank president Josef Ackermann said he thought it improbable that his institution would become the target of a rival bank and stressed that it was also not currently available for a friendly takeover. Deutsche Bank recently held merger talks with U.S. giant Citigroup and press reports suggest that HSBC or JP Morgan could also come courting.