Wells Fargo to buy Prudential’s joint-venture stake For $4.5 billion

December 15, 2009 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Industry News 

(Dow Jones) Wells Fargo & Co. said Tuesday it will buy out Prudential Financial Inc.’s (PRU) stake in its retail brokerage joint venture for $4.5 billion in cash, a move that comes a day after the bank said it would repay $25 billion in government bailout money.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo will acquire Prudential’s non-controlling stake in Wells Fargo Advisors LLC, the joint venture, before the end of the year, the two companies said in a press release announcing the deal.  The deal comes more than a year after Prudential, one of the country’s largest insurers, publicly announced its intention to divest its stake.

“Wells Fargo Advisors enhances and complements our customer-focused mix of businesses by offering outstanding investment products and advice,” Wells Fargo Chief Financial Officer Howard Atkins said in the press release.

Wells Fargo said Monday that it would repay the taxpayer money received as part of a massive government bailout of the banking system. The bank said it would return the money after it raised $10.4 billion by selling shares.

Prudential said the deal would enhance its capital position and give it greater financial flexibility.

Prudential entered into the joint venture in 2003 when it signed a brokerage deal with North Carolina-based Wachovia Corp. Prudential’s stake was diluted when Wachovia agreed to acquire A.G. Edwards for $6.8 billion in 2007. It was further diluted when Wells Fargo agreed to buy Wachovia in 2008.

Under the agreement’s terms, Wachovia agreed that Prudential could sell its minority interest in the venture by Jan. 1, 2010. In June, Prudential said it would exercise that right.

On Tuesday, shares of Wells Fargo rose 0.7% to $25.66, while shares of Prudential dropped 0.6% to $49.15.

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