We’d only just stopped praising Wachovia for ditching Citigroup’s merger offer in favor of a better deal from Wells Fargo, and now this? The bank, so famous for its open and complete IR program, didn’t let analysts ask questions on its earnings call today. When investors dialed in, they got a canned message about the results, which included a gigantic $23.7 bn net loss.
It’s a strange move for a company in the midst of a closely watched merger, set to take a $25 bn cash infusion from the US government’s bailout fund. And it didn't escape the notice of the Wall Street Journal's 'Heard on the Street' squad.
IR consultant John Palizza says it is ‘a startling and abrupt change in style’ for Wachovia. ‘My guess is that it was dictated by Wells Fargo, given that they will inherit any securities law problems that might arise out of the call and the miss was so large,’ he says. ‘It does look awfully convenient that the switch took place at a time when they announced such massive losses.’
A Wachovia IRO did not return a message.