FRANKFURT, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank is expecting a government-brokered merger with rival Commerzbank by mid-year if efforts to restructure the lender fall short of targets, Bloomberg reported on Thursday.
Citing people briefed on executives' thinking, the report said that a such deal may become the only option if the bank's performance does not improve in the first three months of 2019.
Deutsche Bank declined to comment.
Merger speculation has heated up under Germany's finance minister Olaf Scholz, who has spoken out in favour of strong banks in Germany and whose team has met frequently with executives of Deutsche Bank, Commerzbank and major shareholders.
However, earlier this week, a Deutsche Bank supervisory board member said that there is no desire among the board members for a merger with Commerzbank in the near-term. (Writing by Arno Schuetze; editing by Thomas Seythal)