Mellon Financial is close to taking a stake in the investment management arm of the German central savings bank, WestLB, Reuters reports. Mellon's stake in the unit, WestAM, would be close to 50%, according to the report.

Pittsburgh-based Mellon is interested in gaining access to the bank's customers in North Rhine-Westphalia, which is Germany's largest state.

A WestLB official declined comment for the story, although a number of financial sources confirmed the pending deal for The Financial Times Deutschland, with one telling the paper it could close as early as mid September.

Meanwhile, the fate of Manfred Puffer, the chief of WestLB's investment banking division, hangs in the balance. The board is scheduled to meet today to discuss a sharp decline in the bank's pretax earnings in the first half of the year and how to meet orders from WestLB Chief Executive Officer Thomas Fischer to undertake major restructuring of the investment banking unit.

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