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Wells Fargo Now Buys Wachovia

Where is your money going to be next? Just a few days after it had been bought by Citigroup with help from the federal government, Wells Fargo has stepped in to buy the company with no help from the feds.

Wells Fargo Chairman Dick Kovacevich said the deal “provides superior value” to the Citigroup deal and that it will allow Wachovia shareholders to “have a meaningful opportunity to participate in the growth and success of a combined Wachovia-Wells Fargo that will be one of the world’s great financial services companies.”

Yes, this is probably exactly what the bigwigs said when Wachovia acquired any of the 7,000 banks they have over the years. But my meager checking account is safe! Thanks, Wells Fargo!

Update: Ha, ha, not yet, apparently!

Wells Fargo to buy Wachovia [WSJ]

Citigroup To Buy Wachovia

When the economy is in crisis the only one way our nation’s largest financial institutions can survive is to keep buying each other up ’til it passes. In a way, banks are drunken high school kids pairing off for awkward sex (i.e., mergers and acquisitions) on a camping trip. And Citigroup has laid eyes on the quiet brunette with the reputation for putting out: It will buy Wachovia’s banking operations. Make sure to use protection, Citi!

Citigroup will acquire Wachovia’s 200 locations in the Philadelphia area (the bank currently only has 23 around here). Everything else is kind of standard: A bunch of people in government whose job it is to lie to us told us that everything was okay, and praised each other for the great work in helping run our economy into the ground. Wachovia’s shares went way down in premarket trading (91 percent!), the bank was hurt my the mortgage crisis, etc. The usuals.

But forget all that financial stuff. We bloggers roll in so much cash we can sit out any financial crisis the world can offer. Let’s get to the real questions: Does this mean the Wachovia Center will pick up a new name come finalization of the deal? As an upside, the possibly-named Citi Center would maybe confuse out-of-town fans (since it’s not in Center City) and leave more room for Philly sports fans. But since the old building’s being knocked down anyway, why not just go back and call the place The Spectrum?

Update: Joseph DiStefano has more info about the possible change; since Wachovia isn’t being sold, just split up, it could remain the Wachovia Center. Whee!

Citigroup to buy Wachovia banking operations [AP/Philly.com]
Original Wachovia Center Photo by Jason Burmeister used under a Creative Commons License

Local Bank To Change Name (Again)?

Wachovia logo With the economy in full “end times” mode and the government handing out billions of dollars, the Philadelphia Business Journal writes that Wachovia might merge with another bank finally. This would be a boon to both the bank and Philadelphia’s noted giant stadium sign industry, as the Wachovia (formerly Corestates and First Union) Center would probably end up with its fourth different name.

Wells Fargo has long been seen as a merger partner given the San Francisco bank’s dominance in the West. But Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs might find themselves seeking to combine with a commercial bank, especially following this week’s buyout of Merrill Lynch by Bank of America.

Steel said the bank has a big advantage in working through its problems because it has a direct relationship with mortgage borrowers that allows the bank to work out problem loans with borrowers.

“We have lots of flexibility to figure out how to do this,” Steel said. “If we just owned securities, we would have two choices: hold or sell. We have lots of choices.”

Of Wachovia’s $500 billion in loans, only $10 billion are “problematic,” Steel said. “We have a lot of very good loans that are doing well, and we’re going to focus like crazy” on those problem loans.

Goldman Sachs Center? Morgan Stanley Arena? Ehh, whatever. I’ll keep calling it the F.U. Center — and, for that matter, continue saying that I’m going to see the Phillies at “the Vet.”

Wachovia merger speculation heats up [Philadelphia Business Journal]

Goodbye To The Spectrum?

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Above, a possible rendering for the new Philly Live! complex that could replace the Spectrum. This rendering has the place knocked down; the Wachovia Center is at right.

More »

Buy This Car, Get Better Parking

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The Wachovia Center has signed a deal with Lexus in order to give Lexus drivers reserved parking at the Wacko Center.

“Lexus continues to be a great advertising partner of ours,” Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko said in a press release. “As we continue to look for new and exciting opportunities for our fans and our sponsors, Lexus remains a terrific partner.

“As a result of this new arrangement, we’re able to offer our customers who drive Lexus cars an opportunity to park in a specially designated space with other Lexus owners.”

Whoo! You get to park with other Lexus owners! I understand the need for reserved parking at the Flyers, but the Sixers? You can probably pull up five minutes before gametime and get the best parking spot in the house.