For years, Chase Manhattan Corp. declared it would sell its Arizona bank for the "right price." Recently, it disclosed that it had written down the value of the $600 million-asset unit, signaling that today's right price is lower than yesterday's.

Arizona banking sources say the move means a sale is likely. For years, the New York company had insisted it must recover its entire investment, including the acquisition premium it paid when it entered the Grand Canyon State in 1986.

It repeatedly spurned lower offers, including one for roughly $50 million, or book value minus goodwill. The sources say Norwest Corp.'s buyout of Citicorp's Arizona unit earlier this year brought several potential bidders for Chase Arizona out of the woodwork.

Once it was effectively in play, Chase bit the bullet by reducing the carrying value of the bank to prices closer to what bidders were offering. A Chase spokesman confirmed the company has entertained offers, but declined to identify any bidders.

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