JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon has made no secret he wants to buy another bank, and Wachovia is high on the firm's radar screen, JPMorgan insiders have told CNBC.
The possible deal fits nicely into JPMorgan’s game plan as publicly stated by Dimon, which is to expand the firm's commercial bank, particularly in the Southeast. Even with $30 billion in bad loans, Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia could fetch around $39 a share, says Deutsche Bank analyst Mike Mayo. (See the exclusive CNBC report in the accompanying video.)
For JPMorgan, there are several potential roadblocks with any Wachovia deal. A deal of this size would preclude other deals that JPMorgan may be considering, including another bank in the Southeast that sources at JPMorgan say is on the radar screen: Suntrust.
In addition to the $30 billion in writedowns, the deal would bring the combined bank above the Federal deposit cap that states that no bank can control more than 10 percent of all US deposits. JPMorgan already has 7 percent, while Wachovia has 6 percent.
That said, banking analysts say there are ways around the cap, and because shares are now trading cheap, JPMorgan has the money to buy the company even as it digests the Bear Stearns deal.
JP Morgan had no comment.