Peabody sees more banking mergers

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Turmoil in the credit markets is likely to prompt one or more Wall Street investment banks to seek partners, possibly with foreign buyers, in coming months, one influential bank stock analyst told Reuters on Monday.

Charles Peabody, partner in Portales Partners and former financial analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co, UBS and other institutions, tells the Reuters Finance Summit in New York that Merrill and Bear Stearns Co Inc are the most likely candidates to seek a partner. And cash-rich foreign buyers, such as government-backed investment groups like those in China, Dubai or Singapore, would likely be possible buyers, Peabody told Reuters.

But a stronger US acquirer, such as JPMorgan Chase & Co, could also make a move, said Peabody. „We will see at least one forced marriage, maybe two,” Peabody said at the Reuters Finance Summit. „Bear and Merrill are the two most likely to be in the soup, or at the top of the (wedding) cake with other partners.” Among the buyers are „entities with government backing,” he added

„But don't rule out Jamie Dimon,” referring to the chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, or other money-center banks looking to bolster their investment banking capabilities. Other potential buyers could include Wachovia, which was recently approached by ousted Merrill CEO Stan O'Neal for a potential deal, and Bank of America Corp, which recently suffered a big third-quarter downturn in its investment banking division. (The full text at Reuters)

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