FTC Clears Wachovia Acquisition
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) _ Federal antitrust regulators have cleared First Union Corp.’s proposed $13.3 billion acquisition of Wachovia Corp., one of several hurdles the two banks need to clear before they can merge.
The North Carolina-based banks were granted early termination of the waiting period required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday.
The waiting period gives federal regulators sufficient time to review mergers and acquisitions for anticompetitive issues, an FTC spokesman said.
Shareholders of Wachovia, based in Winston-Salem, will vote on First Union’s offer on Aug. 3. Wachovia’s board of directors has recommended its shareholders accept First Union’s offer.
First Union shareholders are expected to approve the deal when they meet July 31 in Charlotte.
SunTrust Banks Inc., of Atlanta, also has an unsolicited bid for Wachovia, which currently stands at about $14 billion.
First Union’s proposed combination with Wachovia also must win the approval of the Federal Reserve Board and state regulators.
First Union has said it expects to close up to 300 bank branches and sell off up to $2 billion in deposits to keep the combined company from controlling too much of the market in some areas.
In trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange, First Union shares were up 18 cents to close at $33.64, while Wachovia shares were up 53 cents to close at $68.30, and SunTrust shares were up 55 cents, closing at $62.65.
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