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Wachovia deal may reach compromise

A woman walks by a Wachovia branch

TEXT OF STORY

Renita Jablonski: You can call it a corporate cat-fight, but Citigroup and Wells Fargo are duking it out over Wachovia. Federal officials are trying to mediate the fight. You may remember early last week when Citigroup had a deal to buy Wachovia. That deal was challenged Friday, when Wells Fargo announced its own bid for the bank. This morning, there are indications of a Solomon-style compromise. Jeremy Hobson has more.


Jeremy Hobson: There are reports of a deal being pushed by the Federal Reserve, which wants Wachovia to find a suitor ASAP to stabilize the nation's banking system. The deal would likely split Wachovia's branches between Citi and Wells Fargo. New York-based Citi would get the Northeast, San Francisco-based Wells would get the Southeast and California.

The possibility of a compromise follows a weekend of legal wrangling over whether Wachovia should have pursued an offer from Wells Fargo after agreeing to have its banking operations taken over by Citi for just over $2 billion. In that deal, the FDIC would have shouldered most of the losses on Wachovia's books.

Whether the FDIC is off the hook in whatever deal gets worked out in the end, it will surely be comforting to federal officials to know people are finally fighting over a bank again.

In New York, I'm Jeremy Hobson for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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