The Italian bank UniCredit is said to have been in contact with Jörg Asmussen (Lazard), the former German State Secretary for Finance, to ask for advice on a possible takeover bid on the German banking group Commerzbank, Reuters reports on the basis of three sources.

Unicredit would also have discussed with the American bank JP Morgan about a possible deal to get hold of the second largest bank in Germany. Commerzbank has returned to the showcase after merger talks with Deutsche Bank were canceled earlier this year.

The Italian bank has long had plans for an expansion to Germany, insiders say. UniCredit already owns HVB, a German lender with headquarters in Munich.

Trade unions in Germany are opposed to an Italian merger partner for Commerzbank. Trade unionist Stefan Wittmann said that earlier this week. He expects even more resistance from the unions than at the time of the negotiations about merging with Deutsche Bank. The trade unions feared the loss of up to 30,000 jobs.

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