In a mega-move described by one Wall Street analyst as “un-friggin-believable,” Home Bancshares Chairman Johnny Allison announced he has acquired Bank of America for $75 billion.
Conway-based Home Bancshares (NASDAQ: HOMB), parent company of Centennial Bank, is a mid-size cap bank. Publicly-traded Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) is a blue-chip stock that is part of the premiere Dow Jones Industrial Average.
The acquisition caught investors off-guard, but was widely regarded as a shrewd move.
“I’m not sure where Allison got that $75 billion pulled together, but kudos. That’s one of the most stunning M&A moves of all time,” said Stifel Nickolaus analyst John Lewis.
Allison said he should never be underestimated.
“That $75 billion? That’s chump change, just a rounding error. I got that kind of money rolling around in my couch cushions,” said Allison. “I told you guys that we were in an acquisition mode, but you didn’t really believe me. Now what have you got to say?”
The financial markets responded well to the move. Both companies’ stock prices were trading 400% higher in pre-market activity.
Allison said he had been making long-term plans to eventually lead to the Bank of America acquisition. The April 1st move was sooner than he expected.
“I got tired of waiting on things to run their normal course. This just delays the inevitable,” he said. “I saw where Jim Walton and those Arvest fellas bought some Bank of America locations and I thought, no way am I gonna let them one-up me.”
Home Bancshares, which earned $63 million in 2012, said the Bank of America buyout would have a quick impact on the company’s bottom line.
“We expect the merger to be immediately accretive to earnings. Like really accretive. Like more accretive than anything you’ve ever seen! I really like the word ‘accretive,'” said Allison.
He also revealed that he planned to rename both financial institutions from Home Bancshares and Bank of America to “Bank of Allison.”
“From a marketing and branding perspective, we can still keep the trading symbol of ‘BAC.’ We’ll just call it Bank Allison Company. Plus, everyone can still say BOA if they want,” Allison explained. “I thought about Bank of Johnny, or BOJ, but that sounds too much like DOJ – the Department of Justice – and I sure don’t want those dudes crawling up in my business.”
Jim Kramer, who hosts financial news network CNBC’s popular show, “Mad Money,” said the Allison move could be the frontline of an emerging trend involving Arkansas bankers and national banks.
“Buy every big bank stock you can,” said Kramer, hitting his patented bull moo button. “If Allison can buy Bank of America, who knows what’s next? Walton Fargo? JPRutledge Chase? Gleason Sachs? Never underestimate those Arkansas boys.”
Editor’s note: Happy April Fools Day!