Magazine article American Banker

Spike in Money Store Stock Ignites Talk of a Sale

Magazine article American Banker

Spike in Money Store Stock Ignites Talk of a Sale

Article excerpt

After several weeks of relative stability, shares of Money Store Inc. surged 11.96% Wednesday in heavy trading, sparking conjecture that a long- rumored sale was close at hand.

The Union, N.J.-based lender closed at $27.50, up $2.9375; 3.167 million shares changed hands, more that twice the daily average.

Two prevalent rumors were that First Union Corp. would pick up the lender at $29 a share or Citicorp at $32 a share.

Other companies said to be looking at Money Store included Norwest Corp., GE Capital Corp., and Greenpoint Financial Corp.

Money Store and First Union declined to comment. None of the other rumored suitors returned phone calls by press time.

First Union's shares rose 12.5 cents, to $52.5625; Citicorp's were up $1.5625, to $134.1875; Norwest up $2.25, to $114; GE Capital Corp. up 68.75 cents, to $74.25; and Greenpoint's shares fell 25 cents, to $72.25.

Many observers remained skeptical. Indeed, one investor said the market action was probably related to a conference call Tuesday morning in which NationsBanc Montgomery Securities analyst Joe Jolson predicted that the company would eventually be sold for more than $35 a share-or $1.5 billion.

Mr. Jolson did not identify a buyer, but First Union appeared to be the favorite candidate among market watchers.

"First Union is building up a consumer finance franchise, and an acquisition of the Money Store would create tremendous synergies," said one source who declined to be identified.

Elsewhere, analyst Michael L. …

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