The early Quote of the Day comes from Wilmington Trust CEO Donald Foley, who sold his bank to M&T Bank over the weekend for 1/2 of its Friday closing market value. Emphasis mine:
"Wilmington Trust today has two very strong fee-based businesses that continue to perform well. However, as our third quarter earnings announcement shows, we continue to face difficult financial realities associated with the credit quality of the loan portfolio in our banking business. As a result, our Board examined a range of strategic alternatives and has held discussions with several potential partners. After careful study, the Board, advised by its lead financial adviser Lazard Freres & Co., LLC, concluded that our merger with M&T is the best available option for our stockholders and also serves the interests of our clients and almost 3,000 staff members. In M&T, Wilmington Trust has found a partner with complementary businesses, a strong financial foundation and an outstanding reputation. Our merger will allow us to build on our many strengths and preserve our commitment to clients and the Delaware community."
"Difficult financial realities!" In plain English, what he means is that they could no longer pretend that they were solvent and they had to pack it in. They were so hosed that it was in the best interest of stockholders to sell out at 1/2 of the previous day's closing price. We'll continue to watch and see if the TBTF banks can perpetuate the myth that they are solvent as they try to "earn" their way out of their losses, while avoiding marking their assets (mortgages, second liens) to market.