Wachovia Dances With Three Suitors


You might have heard reports that Wachovia has begun preliminary talks with Citigroup about a potential merger.

Well that's only half the story. We spoke with the New York Times reporter who broke the story and got all the details.

"With WaMu going under all eyes were on Wachovia,” reveals NY Times reporter Andrews Ross Sorkin on Fast Money “There’s a nervousness that somehow this bailout might not happen or not happen the way they thought. And if that’s the case they’re really going to have to look for alternatives.”

Meanwhile in breaking news, Dylan Ratigan reveals the Wall Street Journal is reporting that Wachovia is also in talks with Wells Fargo and Banco Santander as potential suitors.

But don't take that to mean they're desperate. Quite the contrary Sorkin tells us Wachovia is merely exploring all it's options if Monday comes and not bailout is on the table.

He thinks Wachovia CEO Robert Steel would "love to be in a good bank / bad bank situation where they get to keep the good stuff and get rid of the bad stuff." (That is currently the core of the bailout proposal at the time of writing.)

On the heels of Washington Mutual the traders can’t help but wonder what a deal would mean for Wachovia shareholders. Specifically, what's the likelihood that equity gets wiped out.

“It doesn’t seem that the Feds are involved,” adds Sorkin. “This is a real deal as opposed to a federally imposed deal."

And Sorkin adds another important point. "I do not want to cause a run on the stock. I think it’s a well capitalized company (exploring alternatives).”

The Bottom Line: These talks are probably a contingency plan if the bailout plan is not in place come Monday.

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