MarketWatch reports that shares in Barclays Bank were up Thursday, and again Friday morning, after a Merrill Lynch research note stated that Bank of America (BofA) was 'very interested' in buying the UK firm.
2007, of course, is supposed to be the year of the big-bank merger. And Bank of New York (BONY) and Mellon led the way this week, with news of their tie-up (Mellon apparently had its sights on a deal with BlackRock and (separately) with Merrill Lynch Investment Managers before the BONY merger was sealed).
According to the Merrill note, however, BofA would be up for Barclays because it has:
1. a large international presence in fixed income-orientated investment banking, including corporate and high-yield debt, structured products, derivatives, syndicated lending and treasury management services
2. the leading UK credit card business
3. a large UK retail and commercial bank
4. the leading global indexed asset management and ETF business.
A merger of these two firms would easily create the world's largest bank.