KKR to join Bankhaus on BHF bid

PRIVATE equity house KKR is understood to be in talks with German group Bankhaus Lampe about a joint bid for BHF, a private bank owned by Deutsche Bank.

KKR’s move could improve the buyout firm’s chances of winning over BHF’s sceptical management, which has so far expressed a clear preference for strategic bidders, making it difficult for financial investors to gain a foothold in an industry where hostile deals are not customary.

“We are looking at BHF, but are in the initial stages,” a spokeswoman for Bankhaus Lampe said, without giving further details. KKR declined to comment.

Deutsche Bank has been on the lookout for a buyer for BHF ever since it inherited the Frankfurt-based bank through its €1bn (£881m) purchase of Sal Oppenheim in March.

Deutsche Bank narrowed down the field of potential bidders for BHF as it seeks to sell the bank as a whole.

In September Deutsche Bank finance director Stefan Krause said four bidders were in the due diligence process, including banks and financial investors. BHF, a 150-year-old institution with roughly 1,500 employees, a book value of around €650m, and about €40bn in client assets under management, would be too large for Bielefeld-based Bankhaus Lampe to swallow on its own.