German bank advertises for new owner in the FT

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The regional German bank WestLB launched its search for a new owner Thursday by buying an ad in the Financial Times.

"The shareholders of WestLB ... intend to sell WestLB until December 31, 2011 in an open, transparent and non-discriminatory bidding process," a page 4 notice said under the title "Business For Sale."

Interested parties have until October 28 to contact the US investment bank Morgan Stanley, which has been named as the sales agent, it added.

But WestLB, which has been told by the European Union to find a new owner, also said it could act independently to find one or merge with other German regional banks, known as Landesbanken.

WestLB is already in talks with BayernLB, a counterpart from the southern state of Bavaria.

The European Commission approved a massive bail-out of WestLB by its major shareholders, the northwestern state of North Rhine-Westphalia and local savings banks, but demanded in exchange that it be restructured and then sold.

© 2010 AFP

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