Big merger on Wall Street


Two big brokerage and investment banking firms with heavy involvement in the media sector are becoming one. Banking giant Wachovia Corp., which already owns Wachovia Securities, is acquiring AG Edwards for 6.8 billion bucks, creating the nation's second largest retail brokerage firm, behind Merrill Lynch.

The combined firm will have 1.1 trillion bucks in client assets and nearly 15,000 brokers. It will be called Wachovia Securities, but the retail brokerage business will be based in AG Edwards' hometown of St. Louis. The research, investment banking, mutual fund and other businesses of AG Edwards will be merged into the existing Wachovia Securities structure. Under terms of the merger, AG Edwards shareholders will receive 35.80 cash and 0.9844 shares of Wachovia stock for each share of AG Edwards stock.

RBR observation: Did veteran media analyst Mike Kupinski at AG Edwards see this coming? He recently left for a new job at NobleFinancial after 23 years at AG Edwards. It was just last year that Wachovia cut costs by promoting Marcia Ryvicker and giving the heave-ho to veteran analyst Jim Boyle.