DEALTALK-Cash-rich People's United on the prowl for takeovers

jueves 23 de abril de 2009 20:17 CEST

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By Anurag Kotoky

BANGALORE, April 23 (Reuters) - A well-capitalized bank like Valley National Bancorp (VLY.N: Cotización) could be a strategic fit for People's United Financial Inc (PBCT.O: Cotización), which, with its $2.5 billion of excess cash, is actively seeking to snap up a bank.

"They (People's United) want a high-quality commercial bank at a bargain price and there are not a whole lot of banks in that category now," Anthony Polini, an analyst at Raymond James, told Reuters.

People's United spokesman Brent DiGiorgio declined to comment on Valley but said the company was actively seeking acquisitions of like-minded banks in the corridor from Maine to Washington, D.C.

Bridgeport, Connecticut-based People's United, which is looking to double or triple its assets over the next two to five years, has been one of the better capitalized banks in the country.

"Banks in America would love to have a balance sheet as strong as People's," Janney Montgomery Scott analyst Rick Weiss said in a note to clients.

At the end of first quarter, People's United had a tangible common equity ratio -- a measure of capital strength closely watched by investors these days -- of over 19 percent, higher than most of the banks in the nation.

People's United, which was added to the S&P 500 Index .SPX last November, is looking for a relatively high-quality commercial bank at a distressed price and Valley National could be the one, Polini said.   Continuación...