When Shawmut National Corp. approached Peoples Bancorp of Worcester with a buyout offer, the thrift's management was almost as surprised as Wall Street would prove to be when the deal was announced.

Woodbury C. Titcomb, president and chief executive of the Massachusetts thrift, said Monday that a sale was the last thing on his mind - until Shawmut approached him with a takeover offer less than two weeks ago.

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