Worried about a protracted legal battle further wrecking the credit markets, banking system, and economy, the Feds have stepped into the fight for Wachovia. The solution? Citi and Wells Fargo may have to share it.
WSJ: Under the leading plan being discussed Sunday night, Citigroup and Wells Fargo would divvy up Wachovia’s network of 3,346 branches along geographic lines, with Citigroup getting Wachovia’s branches in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions and Wells Fargo taking those in the Southeast and California, according to people familiar with the talks. Wells Fargo would also take over Wachovia’s asset-management and brokerage units.
Unlike Citigroup’s original agreement to take over Wachovia’s banking assets, in which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. agreed to shoulder potentially hundreds of billions of dollars in toxic loans, the plans being discussed Sunday night don’t entail either buyer receiving financial assistance from the U.S. government, according to people briefed on the talks.
The talks ended late Sunday night with no resolution, but were expected to resume Monday morning, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Whatever. All we know is Wachovia CEO Bob Steel has played this thing (and Citi) brilliantly. A week ago, his company was minutes from failure. Now, he has two massive, outraged suitors fighting for the right to carry him off into the sunset.