A week ago, when the Fed and Treasury mesmerized the financial world with the results of “stress tests” and capital-raising targets for banks, nobody spent much time asking “what if they can’t raise the money?” There was a sense that authorities had washed away enough uncertainty in the sector to satisfy investors. In short order, healthier institutions started raising capital. Those that didn’t need any stepped up efforts to rid themselves of onerous state support.
News that top investment banks want to pay back their TARP funds is welcome news for the M&A market. Though the tens of billions of dollars in capital that will slosh out of the banks and into government coffers may sap the banks of the funds to make big buys, the fact that most post-stress-test capital-raisings have gone smoothly must be encouraging for dealmakers.
(From Acquisitions Monthly)
The coming financial services new world order could unleash a wave of mergers and acquisitions as providers look to thrive under a regime of tighter regulation and diminished risk appetite. As such, the IBM Institute for Business Value calls into question some of the ideological shibboleths still held by many senior banking executives.
EuroFresh, a leading producer of greenhouse tomatoes and cucumbers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Tuesday, partly blaming crackdowns on undocumented migrant workers for its woes.
JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon may have enough on his plate – for now.
With the bank still digesting its two major purchases from last year — Washington Mutual’s banking operations and Bear Stearns — Dimon seems ready to take a break from deals and focus on integration.
Citigroup may be too big to fail, but is it big enough to close a deal? Soon after losing its bid for Wachovia to Wells Fargo, Citi turned it sights on Chevy Chase Bank, which while not as mighty as Wachovia, was at least closer to its east coast power base. This morning, Capital One Finance said it had agreed to buy the mid-Atlantic lender, right out from under Citi’s nose.
JP Morgan Chase had also been interested in Chevy Chase, a smallish, unlisted lender. The deal announced by Capital One was for $520 million – hardly the kind of blockbuster that makes or breaks a battered Wall Street monolith.
It will be interesting to see if Citi, brimming over with TARP funds that the Treasury has all but begged it and others to spend on lending, stays on the prowl. Bank of America took its TARP money and boosted its stake in a Chinese lender, so there is some precedent for Citi to spend the funds on a deal.
But with Citi’s wallet stuffed with taxpayer cash, the impetus for growth may be less imperative. If it decides against bidding for the deposits of another regional bank, Citi will find itself with only financial assets to sell — in a seller’s market.
It agreed to sell its German retail business, which it put on the block over the summer with a price tag of around $8 billion, and at the end of November reports emerged it would try to sell its trust bank unit in Japan for more than $400 million.
Deals of the day:
Ahh, just when you could use a stiff drink on the company’s tab to kill the sobering mood wrought by this year’s financial carnage, you find out you’ll be coughing up for the bill yourself at the annual holiday shindig. Such is the case for scores of London’s financial workers. As Reuters’ Olesya Dmitracova reports, employees at some of the biggest names in town – Goldman Sachs, BNP Paribas, Barclays and so on – will be on the hook for their own year-end parties. A reasonable cost-cutting measure, it seems, during these often unreasonable times. Too bad, though, for those who get stuck drinking swill should their annual bonus get slashed too.