Royal Bank of Canada, Chase: No Links Discussed

Article excerpt

The likelihood of any quick alliance between big U.S. and Canadian banks receded Thursday as Royal Bank of Canada and Chase Manhattan Corp. said they are not involved in any merger talks.

The statements came in response to a story in Thursday's American Banker that said U.S. investment bankers had approached Royal Bank and other big Canadian banks about the possibility of forming some sort of alliance with either Citicorp, Chase, Manufacturers Hanover Corp., or Chemical Banking Corp.

In a news release issued Thursday, Royal Bank chairman Allan Taylor said, "We are aware of no such approaches. It is flattering speculation, but it is no more than that -- just pure speculation."

Yet a high-level source inside Royal Bank insisted late Thursday that Royal Bank had, in fact, been approached by U.S. investment bankers about various combinations with big New York banks. Asked about the conflicting statements, a Royal Bank spokesman stood by the chairman's statement. The spokesman said Mr. Taylor would not be available for any comment beyond the news release.

Chase Manhattan said Thursday that it was not in talks with any Canadian bank. "We continue to build capital without external infusion and we were pleased with the progress in the fourth quarter in building capital," a spokesman said.

Citicorp, Manufacturers Hanover, and Chemical, meanwhile, all declined to comment Thursday, as they had on Wednesday.

Acting Independently

Bankers in U.S. and Canada speculated Thursday that investment banks trying to arrange a U.S.-Canadian bank merger were acting on their own, not at the request of any of the big New York banks. …