Summer is over and the mergers and acquisitions rumor mill is in full swing.
A report by Susquehanna Financial Group, titled "Call Me Maybe … Wells Fargo Should Buy Discover," made the rounds on Wall Street Wednesday. The San Francisco bank and Riverwoods, Ill., credit card company could "marry their existing attributes, by both building upon existing strengths while solving each side's challenges," it argues.
The report received some press attention, but ultimately had little impact on share prices. Though buyout rumors can send a seller's stock soaring, Discover (DFS) closed down 2.2% to $37.91 on Wednesday. Wells (WFC) fell 0.15% to $33.75 by the end of the day. Wells should pay $46 per share for Discover, or $23.7 billion, the Susquehanna report recommended.
A combo of Wells and Discover would create the second-largest credit card issuer behind JPMorgan Chase (JPM), and Wells could help the credit card company cross-sell as many as 10 million credit cards, the detailed report said.
Wells would provide Discover with lower funding costs, and Discover would help the bank grow its balance sheet, it said.
Wells "would stand to benefit from higher yielding asset growth opportunities, particularly in their under-penetrated credit card business as they have become more limited in whole bank acquisitions, while [Discover] would benefit both from an increase in the number of cardholders as well as access to WFC's considerably lower cost of funding," the report said.
Analysts James Friedman, Xin Yang and Jack Micenko wrote it.