Magazine article American Banker

Plenty of Potential Targets Still Seen for Fifth Third

Magazine article American Banker

Plenty of Potential Targets Still Seen for Fifth Third

Article excerpt

If Fifth Third Bancorp bid for National Commerce Bancorp, as has been reported, its failure to strike a deal is unlikely to be a major setback, analysts say.

The Cincinnati banking company has not said whether it was in the running, but it was widely reported to have made a bid for National Commerce, which announced a deal Sunday to sell itself to SunTrust Banks Inc. of Atlanta for $7 billion.

The fact that National Commerce, of Memphis, is selling to SunTrust "won't make or break Fifth Third," said Michael A. Plodwick, an analyst at Blaylock & Partners LP. However, the deal is widely viewed as one SunTrust needed to make to remain independent.

Some analysts say Fifth Third could already be negotiating elsewhere. Bradley S. Vander Ploeg, an analyst with Raymond James Financial Inc., said that since it has not announced an acquisition deal since it left its regulatory trouble behind, its management may simply be biding its time and looking for the perfect fit before it declares itself back in the merger and acquisition market.

Fifth Third's stock has suffered in recent months, as have the shares of other banking companies viewed as potential acquirers.

But its track record in doing deals should ease such concerns. And there are a number of possible targets out there for Fifth Third, according to analysts.

Peter J. Winter, an analyst at Mony Group Inc.'s Advest Inc., said First Horizon National Corp. of Memphis and TCF Financial Corp. of Wayzata, Minn., are two possible targets. Neither first Horizon or TCF would not discuss the speculation. …

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