Germany's biggest bank, Deutsche Bank, and domestic rival Commerzbank plan to open talks on a possible merger.
Commerzbank said in a brief statement Sunday that the two lenders "have agreed today to start discussions with an open outcome on a potential merger."
Deutsche Bank said its management board had decided to "review strategic options" and stressed that there is no certainty of any transaction emerging. It added that "in this context we confirm that we are engaging in discussions with Commerzbank."
Sunday's announcement follows months of speculation that the two lenders, with encouragement from the German government, would explore a possible combination.
The banks had more than 133,000 full-time employees between them at the end of last year.
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