SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

December 22, 2010 11:25 ET

Merger and Acquisition Speculation Attracts Investors to These Regional Banks

The Bedford Report Provides Analyst Research on Synovus Financial & BankAtlantic Bancorp

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 22, 2010) - Canada's fourth largest bank, Bank of Montreal, made headlines last Friday when the company announced it was buying the Wisconsin lender Marshall & Ilsley (M&I) Corporation for $4.1 billion -- a 34 percent premium to M&I's closing price last Thursday -- in an all-stock deal. Bank of Montreal says the deal adds to its position in the U.S. Midwest and more than doubles the branch network it runs through its Chicago-based Harris Bank unit. The BMO/M&I deal sparked speculation that other strong banks will begin shopping for cheap US Regional banks. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the Regional Banking Sector and provides research reports on Synovus Financial Corporation (NYSE: SNV) and BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc. (NYSE: BBX). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

www.bedfordreport.com/2010-12-SNV

www.bedfordreport.com/2010-12-BBX

Last week, shares of BankAtlantic surged following a report from the South Florida Business Journal claiming that PNC could be looking to expand in Florida and could be looking into acquiring BBX. Shares of BankAtlantic have since fallen hard; as investors now appear skeptical such a deal will happen. The Business Journal also said that PNC could be interested in Regions Financial.

Though not mentioned in any report, shares of Synovus have making a nice run following the BMO/MI deal on increased takeover speculation.

The Bedford Report releases regular market updates on the Regional Banking Sector so investors can stay ahead of the crowd and make the best investment decisions to maximize their returns. Take a few minutes to register with us free at www.bedfordreport.com and get exclusive access to our numerous analyst reports and industry newsletters.

Regional Banks have begun to post improving credit quality. More thorough and cautious credit checks have led to fewer delinquent loans and greater financial stability. As such, Banks are setting aside less money to cover bad loans, and some are seeing loan losses recede. While credit quality improved, the high unemployment rate has been damaging to banks' long term loan growth. Improved employment numbers will hopefully, in time, lead to a boost in loan growth across the banking sector.

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