February 13, 2008

BofA deal for Country Wide gets more heat

It seems that the BofA deal to acquire Country Wide (CFC) got a little crowded. Third parties are throwing their hat in the race. Bill miller the famous fund manger and a hedge fund entity have taken or increased their stakes in CFC and are demanding higher price from BofA to get their approval. Bill miller owns 14.9% of CFC while the hedge fund owns under 5%.

Does BofA need to pay more to acquire CFC? May be BofA has to up its offer price to get the deal done. However I think BofA can afford to rebuff investors request for higher price and stick to their guns even if it means abandoning the deal altogether. CFC has no other bidders stepping up to the plate. Even if someone else comes BofA has the right of first refusal, as part f the proffered shares investment in 2007, and can match the price then and get the deal done. BofA also can play hard ball and force CFC into liquidity problems by calling CFC credit lines to force a deal.

Everyone now is becoming an investment banker calling for bigger payout. I think the deal gets done with no price increase and CFC should consider themselves lucky!

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