The Wall Street Journal reports National City is in talks with a number of banks about a possible sale. It says Pennsylvania’s PNC Financial Services and Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia are among the potential bidders. In late September, NatCity said it had no need or plan to raise capital. A lot has changed since then.
In July, Merrill Lynch analyst Guy Moszkowski speculated that Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs would buy a deposit-taking bank to help it fund its businesses. By the fall, Goldman was no longer an investment bank at all, opting to become a deposit-taking bank holding company under heavy pressure from the Fed and the Treasury.
Goldman has been National City’s financial advisor, so there is a relationship to work on. Mozkowski said it was clear Goldman had considered a move to buy an old-world bank, but that it was not likely to go for it over the summer. Now Goldman has a big mid-western partner in the form of billionaire, Warren Buffett, who bought a $5 billion chunk of the Wall Street titan. It’d be interesting to see what the oracle of Omaha thinks about such a deal. If nothing else, trading at $2.23 a share on Wednesday, it’s not like they would be getting fleeced.
But Ohio is one of the hardest hit of the Midwest states suffering from the economic malaise, and so may be one of the last to see any traction in a bank recovery. It may take incentive beyond National City’s low stock price to tempt a buyer.
* ING Direct, the online banking arm of ING Group, said it is acquiring more than 3 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) worth of British deposits from Icelandic online savings providers icesave and Kaupthing Edge.
* Oil and gas exploration company Denbury Resources said it shelved its $600 million Conroe Field acquisition due to turbulent capital markets, even as it enhanced its bank credit line and trimmed its 2009 capital budget to preserve liquidity.
Deals of the day:
* Icelandic bank Glitnir said it would sell its holding in its Swedish daughter company.
* Gerber Scientific, a supplier of automated manufacturing systems, reaffirmed its offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Canadian Virtek Vision International for C$35.1 million ($31.67 million) in cash.