Shares of PaineWebber Group Inc. soared Friday on a report that it was being courted by BankAmerica Corp.
Business Week said the companies' chairmen were in talks. A deal would give the bank a vast retail brokerage that controls $250 billion of assets.
Neither firm would comment, though a bank spokesman acknowledged the San Francisco superregional wanted to expand its brokerage business.
Perrin Long, an independent analyst, said such rumors were likely to surface as restrictions on investment banking by banks are eased.
PaineWebber would be a good target if BankAmerica wanted to acquire retail brokerage, corporate finance and asset management clout quickly, he said. A.G. Edwards & Co., St. Louis, might make more sense, he said, if the bank's interest was limited to retail.
Mr. Long said PaineWebber probably was worth $38 to $40 a share - far less than the $55 estimated in the magazine - because its before-tax margins are the lowest of the major brokerages.
PaineWebber shares rose to tktk, up tktk, while BankAmerica Corp. stock rose TK, to TK.
Separately, BankAmerica Corp. said Friday that it was buying Honolulu Mortgage from HomeSide Lending Inc. Terms were not disclosed.