On the afternoon of April 12, having reached a $30 billion merger agreement, executives of Banc One Corp. and First Chicago NBD Corp. booked a conference room for the next day at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York to announce the deal.

They quickly learned that NationsBank Corp. and BankAmerica Corp. had also booked space at the same hotel. They had their own deal to announce, a $60 billion blockbuster that would create the first coast-to-coast branch banking network.

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