Wachovia keeps comms in-house in Golden West acquisition

CHARLOTTE, NC: Wachovia did not hire a firm for its communications work on its $26 billion acquisition of Golden West Financial last week, the company said.

CHARLOTTE, NC: Wachovia did not hire a firm for its communications work on its $26 billion acquisition of Golden West Financial last week, the company said.

Spokesperson Christy Phillips said the transaction communications were handled "primarily in-house." Wachovia does not have an AOR, Phillips said; rather, the bank uses various firms on a project basis.

The deal will bring a swath of job cuts, but there is little information available on whether or how much the communications teams will be affected. "We'll have approximately 1,100 position reductions, but it's too early to provide any details around those position reductions and where they would come from," she said.

The two financial institutions both have well-known brands, but Wachovia's is more prominent.

Phillips said that the companies are planning a "two-year integration period" to combine the companies, and that rebranding would be one issue considered throughout the lengthy process."

Typically, any changes...to the Wachovia brand would be part of that integration timeline," she said. "And it would come, generally, at the end of that two year period."

She said the two companies would work together to develop the specific timeline, and that the actual rebranding, if it takes place, could be "several years out." The merger comes along with news that two Wachovia executives allegedly exercised stock options as talks for the merger were going on, gaining up to $1.7 million.

Phillips said the executives, Benjamin Jenkins III, VP and head of consumer banking, and Alice Lehman, head of investor relations, complied with the company's detailed policies and procedures when they sold shares on April 28.

"Ken Thompson [CEO of Wachovia] did not receive a call about the possibility of a Golden West financial transaction until late in the day on April 27 from an intermediary," she said. "The executives who executed stock trades had no knowledge of that call."  

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