When KeyCorp announced that it was buying First Niagara Financial Group for $4.1 billion, the consensus reaction from investors and analysts was that Key overpaid and that its cost savings and revenue projections were overly optimistic.
But CEO Beth Mooney
never wavered in her belief that the acquisition was the right long-term move for Key and its shareholders and, some two years after the deal was announced and 14 months after it closed, it is hard to argue that she was wrong. Profits are soaring, its stock is among the best-performing in the industry over the past year, and Key has already hit some of its post-merger targets for efficiency ratio and return on tangible common equity.
The even better news: Key is still a long way from fully reaping the benefits of the deal. “It takes three to five years to fully realize all of the synergies that you are going to get out of an acquisition,” said Marty Mosby, a bank analyst with Vining Sparks.