Steven Arons and Mark Bergen (Bloomberg) -- Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Deutsche Bank AG have agreed to form a long-term partnership that will see the U.S. technology company provide cloud computing capabilities to Germany’s largest lender.
“The partnership with Google Cloud will be an important driver of our strategic transformation,” Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Officer Christian Sewing said in a joint statement Tuesday, confirming an earlier Bloomberg News report. “It is as much a revenue story as it is about costs.”
The contract is set to last at least 10 years and Deutsche Bank expects to make a cumulative return on investment of 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) through the alliance, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified disclosing private information. The companies also plan to make joint investments in technology and share the resulting revenue, which could lead to engineers from both firms developing products together, they said.
Sewing a year ago unveiled a strategy centered around deep cost cuts, including spending on information technology. He also hired Bernd Leukert, a former executive at German software giant SAP SE, to accelerate the bank’s efforts to digitize its operations.
The companies declined to comment on how much Deutsche Bank will pay for Google’s services, and the bank didn’t indicate what cost savings it expects to generate from the arrangement.
European banks in recent years have started pouring billions of euros in attempts to modernize their IT, frequently opting to put more of their data onto the cloud. That has lured the big U.S. providers including Google, Microsoft Corp. and Amazon.com Inc., according to a Bloomberg survey conducted earlier this year.
Win for Google
The deal is a notable win for Google as it tries to show that its cloud business can service the financial sector. To date, Google’s only major bank customer was HSBC Holdings Plc. But Thomas Kurian, the head of Google’s cloud division, has made the financial industry one of his key customer targets since joining in late 2018.
“We’re excited about our strategic partnership and the opportunity for Google Cloud to be helpful to Deutsche Bank and its clients as they grow their business and shape the future of the financial services industry,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in the press release.
The companies have signed a non-binding letter of intent and plan to finalize the contract in the coming months, they said in the release.
Google’s latest cloud pitch involves including other parts of the search giant’s empire, such as its advertising business and stable of engineers. A recent cloud deal in travel, for instance, had Google co-developing products in the sector. That’s now happening in finance, another sector that Google has tentatively worked with for years.
The increasing reliance on U.S. firms has stoked concerns in Europe’s technology industry, and banking executives have called on companies in the region to develop alternatives. Sewing in 2018 called “the likes of Google” the biggest threat to traditional banks.