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Two bulls in two pens

News of a planned merger between Bankers Trust and broker Alex Brown came in a rush. In fact, though, the firms had long recognized their complementarities and had first started talking about a link-up in 1993. Peter Lee reports.

Newman's "vision thing"

The public announcement on Sunday April 6 of an intended merger between Bankers Trust and broker Alex Brown came a week earlier than planned. It had to. Rumours of a deal were beginning to spread. Earlier that weekend, Alex Brown salesmen were in Florida with the firm's chief executive, AB "Buzzy" Krongard, for a morale-boosting get-together. Krongard was surprised to be approached by an excited employee expressing enthusiasm about the merger talks. The employee happened to be married to a Bankers Trust managing director.

There seems to have been more loose talk than a married couple's breakfast conversation. On Friday the 4th there was frantic turnover in call options on Alex Brown stock, trading that may have set off an investigation by the SEC.

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