Continuing a war of words, Bank of New York Co. on Wednesday pressed Mellon Bank Corp. to reconsider its unsolicited merger proposal or present a "credible alternative strategy."

Bank of New York asserted in a sharply worded press release that it is "mystified" by the Pittsburgh banking company's refusal to consider its exchange offer of 1.4 shares made public April 22. "The economics" of the merger, Bank of New York said, "are irrefutable."

Citing recent analyst reports, Bank of New York said Mellon's earnings would have to grow "far in excess" of historical rates and the projections of some analysts to beat the value offered in its bid. Bank of New York said it has increased revenues by 9.1% over the past five years, versus Mellon's 7.9% revenue growth.

Bank of New York urged Mellon to acknowledge what it called "overwhelming" shareholder support for the merger and either negotiate or "put forward a credible alternative strategy that will give its shareholders at least the same value embedded in our proposal."

Mellon declined to comment, and analysts said it was unlikely Bank of New York's latest statement would cause Mellon to change its stance of remaining independent. Mellon's board voted April 26 to reject Bank of New York's overture.

"Mellon has done a good job explaining how its strategies differ from Bank of New York's, and I do believe them when they say there are cultural differences," said Anthony R. Davis, bank analyst at SBC Warburg Dillon Read. "I think Bank of New York must raise their bid or make an offer directly to the shareholders because what they're doing now is not going to cut it."

Although Bank of New York says Mellon shareholders overwhelmingly support a merger, only one Mellon stockholder-arbitrager Guy Wyser-Pratte- has come forward urging Mellon to accept Bank of New York's offer. Warburg Pincus, the other shareholder to speak out on the proposal, supports Mellon.

"I've talked to institutional shareholders, and I think all things being equal they would rather Mellon take the deal because of the premium involved," said James Schutz, bank analyst at ABN Amro, Chicago. "But I see little dissatisfaction among them with how Mellon is running things."

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