Bank of America Agrees to Purchase Countrywide
Creates Largest U.S. Mortgage Lender and Servicer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Bank of America Corporation has announced a definitive agreement to purchase Countrywide Financial Corp. in an all-stock transaction worth approximately $4 billion.
The purchase will make Bank of America the nation's largest mortgage lender and loan servicer.
"Countrywide presents a rare opportunity for Bank of America to add what we believe is the best domestic mortgage platform at an attractive price and to affirm our position as the nation's premier lender to consumers," Bank of America Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kenneth D. Lewis said. "Countrywide customers will gain access to a broad set of consumer products including credit cards and deposit services. Home ownership is a fundamental pillar of the U.S. economy and over time it will be a key area of growth for Bank of America."
"We are aware of the issues within the housing and mortgage industries," Lewis continued. "The transaction reflects those challenges. Mortgages will continue to be an important relationship product, and we now will have an opportunity to better serve our customers and to enhance future profitability."
Countrywide's deep retail distribution will enhance Bank of America's network of more than 6,100 banking centers throughout the U.S. After closing, Bank of America plans to operate Countrywide separately under the Countrywide brand with integration occurring no sooner than 2009.
"We believe this is the right decision for our shareholders, customers and employees," said Countrywide Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Angelo R. Mozilo. "Bank of America is one of the largest financial institutions in the U.S. and internationally, and we are confident that the combination of Countrywide and Bank of America will create one of the most powerful mortgage franchises in the world. We have had a long and positive relationship with Bank of America and our servicing and origination businesses, as well as other aspects of our operations, will be substantially enhanced as a result of this transaction."
Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of Countrywide would receive .1822 of a share of Bank of America stock in exchange for each share of Countrywide.
The purchase is expected to close in the third quarter and to be neutral to Bank of America earnings per share in 2008 and accretive in 2009, excluding merger and restructuring costs.
Bank of America expects $670 million in after-tax cost savings in the transaction, or 11 percent of the expense base of the two companies' mortgage operations. About one third of those savings would come in 2009, two thirds would be realized in 2010 and savings would be fully realized in 2011.
The agreement has been approved by Bank of America's board of directors and Countrywide's board of directors and is subject to approval by Countrywide's shareholders and customary regulatory approvals.
Origination of subprime loans is not planned for the combined company.