Report: BankAmerica and NationsBank Discussed Merger
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ BankAmerica Corp. and NationsBank Corp. have discussed a possible merger that would create the nation’s largest bank, the Los Angeles Times reported today.
Barron’s magazine also reported in today’s editions that a NationsBank director confirmed that the bank has been talking with several potential partners and said BankAmerica would make the best fit. The magazine did not name the director.
The union would form a powerhouse with more than $400 billion in assets.
BankAmerica spokesman Dennis Wyss told the Associated Press that the bank does not comment on merger speculation. A spokeswoman for Charlotte, N.C.-based NationsBank also declined comment this morning.
BankAmerica’s shares rose $1.12 1/2 to $63.75 this morning on the New York Stock Exchange. NationsBanks shares were $1 to $71 on the NYSE.
BankAmerica sources told the Times there is no guarantee of a deal. The bank has recently come close to closing other major deals that eventually fell apart.
One stumbling block is where the combined banks would be headquartered, the Times said, citing a high-level BankAmerica source it did not name.
Executives with San Francisco-based BankAmerica have suggested compromising on Washington, D.C., for the headquarters, the source told the paper.
A combination of slow economic growth, intense competition for depositors, and new federal laws easing restrictions on operating branches across state lines has driven more banks to combine forces.
Last week San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. made a $10.1 billion hostile bid for First Interstate Bankcorp of Los Angeles.
In September, NationsBank Corp., the nation’s third-largest bank, reached an agreement to acquire Atlanta-based Bank South Corp. for $1.6 billion in stock.