In a memo to employees last week, Wells Fargo & Co. chairman Paul Hazen downplayed comments that had triggered new speculation the company was in merger talks.

Wells shares soared Thursday after Mr. Hazen told a Bloomberg News reporter at a banking conference in New Orleans that the $97.7 billion- asset bank would consider a buyout.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.