Rumor has it acquisition-hungry Wells Fargo is resurrecting the merger talks with UBS that Wachovia started two years ago.
Coming only days after Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf announced that he wanted to buy more scale in the securities industry -- preferably at the high-net-worth end -- the rumored match would indeed give him just that.
It would also put Wells Fargo on more equal footing with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, the only two brokerage operations out there bigger than its own 15,000-rep network.
Wachovia was talking to UBS about a merger back in early 2009, but amid the logistical details of its own integration with new parent Wells Fargo -- which bought it in the early phases of the credit crunch -- the negotiations went nowhere.
At the time, the prospective deal was seen as a big plus for UBS, which had struggled to squeeze profits out of its U.S. retail unit.
Now, the Swiss bank denies that talks have restarted and industry observers discount the "efficiencies" that such a huge merger would create for either partner. But it's in the air, so we need to keep watching.