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NATIONSBANK BUYOUT OF BOATMEN’S CREATES 3RD BIGGEST MERGER

SHARE NATIONSBANK BUYOUT OF BOATMEN’S CREATES 3RD BIGGEST MERGER

NationsBank Corp. said Friday it has agreed to pay about $9.5 billion for Boatmen's Bancshares Inc. in the third-biggest U.S. banking merger on record.

The companies said the deal would create the nation's fourth-biggest banking company, with a combined $230 billion in assets. The combination continues the industry's drive to become more competitive by getting bigger.The deal would expand NationsBank's strong position in the South to the Midwest, where Boatmen's is based.

NationsBank, the nation's fifth-largest banking company and based in Charlotte, N.C., currently has branches in nine states, mainly in the South and Washington, D.C. It had assets as of June 30 of $192 billion.

Boatmen's, based in St. Louis, ranked 24th among the nation's banks with $41 billion in assets.

After the deal, NationsBank would have branches in 16 states and would trail only No. 1 Chase Manhattan Corp., second-ranked Citicorp and No. 3 BankAmerica Corp. It moves ahead of J.P. Morgan & Co., currently the fourth-largest banking company by assets.

The move to consolidation in the banking industry comes at a time of intense global competition - not only from traditional banks, but from companies like General Motors Corp. and AT&T Corp. that issue their own credit cards, and from insurers and brokerage companies that offer bank-type services.