Citigroup Executives to Meet Sunday on Wachovia

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by Cdntrader, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. Citigroup Executives to Meet Sunday on Wachovia
    Posted By:Charlie Gasparino
    Topics:Economy (U.S.) | Debt | Mortgages | Wall Street | Banking
    Sectors:Insurance | Financial Services | Banks
    Companies:Citigroup Inc | Wachovia Corp
    By Charlie Gasparino On-Air Editor | 27 Sep 2008 | 09:41 PM ET
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    Senior executives of Citigroup are expected to meet Sunday to discuss a possible acquisition of Wachovia in what people close to the talks describe as advanced merger discussions between the two big banks, CNBC has learned.

    People with knowledge of the discussions say the talks could break down at any time; Citigroup's [C 20.15 0.74 (+3.81%) ] interest largely hinges on whether the firm will received federal help to buy Wachovia [WB 10.00 -3.70 (-27.01%) ], which has around $120 billion of bad debt on its balance sheet.

    But if the feds lend a hand to help Citigroup dispose of these soured assets, people close to the firm say, that will make Wachovia an attractive takeover target.

    Wachovia [WB 10.00 -3.70 (-27.01%) ], based in Charlotte, NC, has $400 billion in deposits and is the nation's sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets, taking into account the conversion of Goldman Sachs [GS 137.99 2.49 (+1.84%) ] and Morgan Stanley [MS 24.75 -2.35 (-8.67%) ] into bank-holding companies this week.

    The advanced talks with Citigroup come as Wachovia has approached several banks for a possible merger, including Wells Fargo [WFC 37.31 3.19 (+9.35%) ] and Banco Santander of Spain.

    It's unclear if Citigroup is in the lead to purchase Wachovia, though top officials at Citigroup are clearly interested in a deal, given the high level discussions expected to take place on Sunday.

    Wachovia recently engaged in advanced merger discussion with Morgan Stanley [MS 24.75 -2.35 (-8.67%) ], which backed away from the deal, in part, because of the amount of illiquid assets on the bank's balance sheet. One impediment to a Citigroup deal is that both Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit and Wachovia CEO Robert Steele are relatively new to their jobs.

    "Does Steele really want to give up any chance of being CEO of the company that buys Wachovia?" said one Wall Street executive, who has knowledge of some of the bank's recent merger discussions. "I dont think so."

    That said, officials at Citigroup are clearly weighing a possible deal, given the activity that is scheduled to take place on Sunday.

    A Citigroup spokesman had no immediate comment.
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