A consortium of private owners led by Cerberus European Investments and JC Flowers has agreed to acquire German state-owned lender HSH Nordbank for nearly €1bn.

The federal state owners of the bank, Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein and the Savings Bank Association of Schleswig-Holstein, have signed a contract to sell their 94.9% stake in HSH Nordbank to the consortium.

Besides Cerberus European Investments and JC Flowers, the consortium includes GoldenTree Asset Management, Centaurus Capital and BAWAG.

HSH Nordbank CEO Stefan Ermisch said: “This is the start of a new era for our bank – our future owners are among the world’s most experienced financial investors in the banking sector, particularly in Germany and continental Europe.

“This will open up new opportunities for us to compete in the market without any current EU restrictions.”

Following the acquisition, the bank will be relieved of majority of its legacy assets which will be transferred at the date of closing of an acquisition vehicle, purchased by the affiliates of the consortium members Cerberus, JC Flowers, GoldenTree and Centaurus Capital.

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Furthermore, the Non-Core Bank will cease to exist and accordingly the guarantee of the Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein will be completely terminated as the deal closes.

JC Flowers CEO J. Christopher Flowers said: “HSH Nordbank is a well-positioned bank, with a strong franchise, a loyal client base, and a management team focused on building a leading financial institution in Germany and across Europe.

“We have a long relationship with the bank, and our new investment reinforces our commitment to the institution and our confidence in its future.”

Expected to close in the second or third quarter of this year, the transaction is subject to various closing conditions including approvals from European Commission and the state parliaments in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein as well as the ownership control procedures of the banking supervision.