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Bank merger canceled ...

   In Business Today:
   The off-again, on-again merger, combination, alliance, whatever, of Buffalo's M&T Bank and Spain's Banco Santander SA is off again. But the merger of Southwest Airlines with AirTran is a done deal.

- M&T, Spanish bank fail to agree on merger - Jonathan D. Epstein/The Buffalo News
   The latest round of negotiations between M&T Bank Corp. and Spanish giant Banco Santander SA collapsed over the weekend after the two sides still could not agree over who would control the combined U.S. company, a source familiar with the talks said Monday.
   The failure of the discussion means Buffalo-based M&T will retain its independence without undergoing any changes in its operations. That's likely a relief to anyone in Buffalo worried about what might have happened to the bank and its highly visible commitment to its hometown if Santander had emerged as its majority owner.
   But it also means M&T will not double in size into a Top 10 U.S. bank and will not gain a desired major presence in New Jersey and New England, at least not right away as had been contemplated under the talks. ...
   M&T and Santander, parent of Sovereign Bancorp in the United States, have been talking on and off for several months about a deal in which M&T would acquire Sovereign in exchange for giving Santander a stake in the combined U.S. bank. That would create the ninth-largest U.S. bank by deposits, with 1,500 branches and operations throughout the Northeast from New Hampshire to Richmond, Va. 
- M&T Bank Falls on Reports Banco Santander Talks End - Bloomberg
AIB may sell stake in MT after merger talks fail again - Irish Times
- M&T Bank May Consider Stake Buyback - The Street
   Management or large bank investors may pursue a stake buyback from Allied Irish Banks ( AIB) in order to maintain its independence, says one analyst. Collyn Gilbert of Stifel Nicolaus believes that a number of M&T shareholders -- including Warren Buffett -- are likely to bid for Allied Irish's 22.5% stake in order to increase their holdings in the U.S. bank. Alternatively, M&T management may be able to buyback the stake itself. "It would require M&T raising capital to do so, but M&T could also handpick some of their 10 largest shareholders.


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