Washington Mutual Inc. is weighing a bid for Great Western Financial Corp., a Washington Mutual board member said Wednesday.
In its monthly board meeting Tuesday, the board discussed the implications of the $6 billion bid made Monday by H.F. Ahmanson & Co., "and whether there are any opportunities for us in that," the board member said. The board did not authorize any specific counteroffer, the member emphasized.
Washington Mutual has talked to Great Western in recent months, according to market sources, and would be an obvious choice as a white knight.
The Seattle thrift entered the California market last year through its purchase of American Savings Bank, Irvine, Calif. While there is some overlap between American's branches and those of Great Western, the likely cost savings of a WAMU-Great Western deal are unlikely to match those of an Ahmanson-Great Western merger, analysts said.
Ahmanson's stock, which rose $4.375 Tuesday on news of the hostile bid, fell $2 Wednesday to $42.875. Great Western stock gained 12.5 cents to $45. Washington Mutual gained $2 to $58.25.