Calif. Merger Action Shakes Up Market - and Execs; Thrift Stocks Surge on Report of Cal Fed Talks with 1st Nationwide
Kleege, Stephen, American Banker
Stock prices of California thrifts jumped higher Thursday in response to a published report that Cal Fed Bancorp is in merger talks with First Nationwide Bank.
Merger speculation about the state's thrifts, which last flared during the hostile bidding war for First Interstate Bancorp in the fall, returned in a big way Thursday after The Wall Street Journal reported Cal Fed was weighing a proposal of $22 to $24 a share.
The report, coming only three days after Washington Mutual Inc. announced an agreement to buy American Savings Bank, helped lift shares of H.F. Ahmanson & Co. $37.5 cents to $24.875. Golden West Financial rose $1.125, to $54.875; Great Western Financial $1, to $23; Glendale Federal 25 cents, to $17.75; and Coast Financial 37.5 cents, to $31.125.
Cal Fed shares, which had risen 10% on merger speculation in the last week and a half, gained another $1.25, to $21.375.
"Mentally, investors have put these stocks in play, as well they should," said Thomas O'Donnell, thrift analyst at Smith Barney. He argued that thrift mergers in California and acquisitions of thrifts by banks outside the state are "inevitable."
"If you want to be a bank with …
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Publication information: Article title: Calif. Merger Action Shakes Up Market - and Execs; Thrift Stocks Surge on Report of Cal Fed Talks with 1st Nationwide. Contributors: Kleege, Stephen - Author. Magazine title: American Banker. Volume: 161. Issue: 142 Publication date: July 26, 1996. Page number: 1+. © 2009 SourceMedia, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1996 Gale Group.
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