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M&T Buys Hudson City for $3.7 Billion (Update 1)

Stocks in this article: HCBK MTB

M&T Bank CEO Robert Wilmers said "as a thrift, Hudson City focused primarily on deposits and mortgages. M&T will build on Hudson City's loyal customer base to create a comprehensive community banking franchise that provides a full range of checking and savings accounts, debit and credit cards, home equity loans and other lending options, plus small business and commercial banking services and our premier wealth management and corporate trust solutions through Wilmington Trust," which M&T acquired in May 2011.

Hudson City CEO Ronald Hermance said that "Hudson City recently embarked on a diversification of our product lines and our balance sheet," and that "as we combine Hudson City's attractive retail network with M&T's full service commercial banking suite, our stakeholders will participate in the growth of one of the nation's strongest and most successful banking franchises." After the merger is completed, Hermance will remain as a board member for the combined holding company and its main banking subsidiary.

The merger is subject to regulatory approval and votes by both companies' shareholders.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM) acted as Hudson City's financial advisor in negotiating the deal.

FIG Partners analyst Christopher Marinac calls the Hudson City acquisition "a wonderful deal for M&T." Discussing the below-book-value takeout, Marinac says "in the late 90s you had a lot of very expensive deals," at high premiums to book value. "Today the pricing and mechanics of the deals are significaantly different," because of mark-to-market accounting.

"You have to mark the assets and liabilities to fair value, which limits what the buyer will pay," the analyst says.

With such a large acquisition not requiring an offering of common shares, while also increasing the combined company's capital ratios, Marinac says "It is definitely a stroke of discipline for M&T."

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