Reader Dwight pointed out this amusing disparity in reporting. The Financial Time is definitive, It title: “No bidders come for Washington Mutual“:
Hopes of finding a buyer for Washington Mutual dimmed on Thursday as an auction for the beleaguered US bank had yet to attract any bids…
Goldman has approached a number of banks, including Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, according to people close to the situation.
The banks declined to comment, but people close to the talks said JPMorgan was not planning to bid for WaMu, while San Francisco-based Wells Fargo generally focuses on small acquisitions. Citi is also believed to be wary of expanding its US retail operations.
Fred Cannon, analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, said that while WaMu’s franchise and retail branch network on the west coast of the US made it an attractive prospect for banks such as JPMorgan, a buyer would have to take up to a $37bn accounting hit from the deteriorating mortgage portfolio.
The lack of interest means that Goldman may soon have to evaluate other options for the bank. These could include raising capital by selling off the attractive assets, which would still leave WaMu holding the mortgage portfolio, or raising fresh capital to allow the bank to stand alone – a challenge in the current environment.
The Bloomberg headline? “WaMu Said to Attract Multiple Potential Bidders“;
Washington Mutual Inc., the savings and loan that put itself up for sale this week after the stock tumbled, has attracted several potential bidders for all or part of the bank, a person familiar with the matter said.
The person declined to identify the companies. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. may bid for WaMu, three other people with knowledge of the talks said earlier…..
“Everybody wants the West Coast depository,” said Fred Cannon, an analyst at KBW Inc. in San Francisco who rates WaMu “market perform.” “They all have one problem, which is the same questionably valued assets. JPMorgan is in a position of pretty good strength. It would be a market expansion for their branch footprint.””:
Recall the reporting of multiple parties allegedly interested in buying Lehman, when none came forward. I tend to be skeptical of reports of interest until there are signs deal discussions are on. But in this case, who knows?
Update 9/19, 12:05 AM: Seems the usually reliable FT has a bit of egg on its face. It now has an article titled “Five banks exploring WaMu records“:
Five banks have come forward to evaluate Washington Mutual’s financial records as part of an auction process run by WaMu’s adviser, people familiar with the matter said on Thursday.
WaMu shares rose 14 per cent on Thursday after news it had put itself up for sale. The five banks that have looked through the WaMu materials include JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, HSBC and Banco Santander, the people familiar said. It was unclear whether any of them intended to make an offer for WaMu.