More Bank Merger / Deal Rumours Surface

Reuters reports that shares in Barclays Bank finished at a record high Friday on rumours of that impending Bank of America bid - despite the news that Barclays outgoing chairman Matt Barrett sold 2.3 million shares Thursday (something that he would not have been allowed to do if a bid approach had been made).

There is talk that Barclays and Bank of America have held discussions in the past about a deal, but that the $47bn FleetBoston acquisition came up in 2003 and BofA pulled the plug to focus on domestic concerns. But, so the rumour goes, with the Fleet and MBNA deals put to bed, the US firm is said to be on the prowl once again.

And it's not just the rumoured Barclays / Bank of America tie-up that made the news this weekend. According to Switzerland's Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, UBS is said to be keen to make even more headway in Germany. The newspaper quotes an unnamed employee who said that the firm is looking to add another 1,000 staff to its existing 1,500 headcount there. It then goes on to say, without giving further details, that UBS is busy looking over Commerzbank's investment banking arm, which employs around 900 people.

And The Sunday Telegraph reports that Citigroup is likely to end up the owner of Morgan Stanley's wealth management business Quilter. The US firm is said to have beaten rivals Credit Suisse, Deutsche, Lloyds TSB and Royal Bank of Canada, and a $450m deal could be announced in a matter of days. The newspaper also mentions rumours that 'Cazenove Capital Management may follow Quilter on to the auction block'.

Finally, and staying with Citigroup, Reuters reports that UK insurer Prudential Plc has rejected a bid from the US group for online bank Egg. Prudential issued a statement over the weekend (without naming the company which made the approach), saying that 'it was clear that it was  speculative and conditional and not in our shareholders' interests'.

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