Regions Financial Corp. could seek a buyer as an alternative to raising capital to comply with requirements stemming from the Treasury Department's stress test findings, according to an analyst.
Albert Savastano of Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Waller wrote in a note to clients Tuesday that a sale "is a possible outcome" for the Birmingham, Ala., firm, and that BB&T Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. would be the most logical bidders.
"If it came down to Regions deciding whether or not to have the government as a partner or merging with another company, we believe a merger would maximize shareholder value," he wrote.
The $142 billion-asset Regions has other options to raise the $2.5 billion required by the government, Savastano wrote, though it has not announced a formal plan. "We expect the plan to focus on converting some of its debt/trust preferreds into common" stock, but that may be insufficient; Regions could have to sell common stock as a supplement.
A Regions spokesman said he would not discuss the matter. Neither JPMorgan Chase nor BB&T responded to e-mails seeking comment.