US investor Cerberus has become one of the largest shareholders in Deutsche Bank, taking a three per cent stake in the lender, Deutsche Bank said today.
It comes after the private equity investor bought up a stake in Germany's second-largest bank, Commerzbank, in the summer.
In a statement, Cerberus said there were long-term opportunities in the German retail banking sector because of the country's "robust economy, high savings rate, and a number of other factors".
The move by Cerberus is fuelling speculation that Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank could merge. The two lenders talked about a merger briefly last year, but did not go forward with the deal.
The merged firms would hold a 10 per cent share of the German retail banking sector, and the overlaps between the two leaves potential to close branches and cut costs.