WaMu Seems Ripe For the Picking
The drumbeat is growing louder for Washington Mutual (WM) to sell itself.
The Seattle-based thrift's
"We do believe the company will be sold, whether or not it is to
A WaMu spokesman said Friday that the company doesn't comment on rumors or speculation.An acquisition of the big consumer-centric company, which expanded from an obscure Seattle-based savings and loan into a national retail banking powerhouse with a heavy emphasis in mortgage lending, wouldn't be too surprising. Just last week, Bank of America (BAC) agreed to purchase Countrywide Financial (CFC), the nation's largest independent lender, after its stock fell from approximately $41 a share a year earlier to about $5. WaMu's shares over the past year have done just as poorly, as the credit crunch and housing decline intensified. The stock, up as much as 10% on Friday, is still down nearly 70% from a year earlier. For the full year, WaMu recorded a net loss of $67 million, or 12 cents a share, as a result of the charges in the fourth quarter, it said. The bank attributed its $1.87 billion fourth-quarter loss to a $1.6 billion after-tax charge to writedown goodwill in its Home Loans unit as well as higher provisioning because of the housing market weakness. It set aside $1.5 billion in the fourth quarter for bad loans -- in line with its previously announced estimate on the provision and approximately twice the level of fourth-quarter net charge-offs. "If you take their guidance for the year and use the high end of the estimates, you come up with a break even year
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