The proposed merger of Keycorp and Society Corp., a long-distance union that would create a $58 billion-asset company with operations in 18 states, has created a big buzz among investors and analysts as to whether the companies have achieved the best value for shareholders.

Keycorp chairman Victor Riley and Society chairman Robert Gillespie argue that the merger creates a perfect synergy: Keycorp has a far-flung retail branch system across the northern U.S. while Society has a strong line of trust and investment products to hawk through the system. Moreover, the two executives claim that the "cultures" of their banks are complementary.

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