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You say tomato, I say takeover ...

By JEFF HARRINGTON

© St. Petersburg Times, published July 2, 2001


Bankers at First Union and SunTrust have taken pains to differentiate themselves in recent weeks as they wage war over Wachovia Corp.

Bankers at First Union and SunTrust have taken pains to differentiate themselves in recent weeks as they wage war over Wachovia Corp.

But the two Southeast rivals have at least one common thread: They apparently employ the same linguistic spinmeisters.

Take, for instance, SunTrust's latest volley in the War of Words. SunTrust mailed its proxy statement to Wachovia shareholders this week, urging them to vote "against the proposed takeover of Wachovia by First Union" and for SunTrust's "merger proposal."

First Union, of course, has a decidedly different take. Throughout the epic struggle, it has consistently referred to its bid as a "merger of equals" with Wachovia versus the "unsolicited hostile" bid by SunTrust.

Whoever succeeds, look for a letter from the victor telling shareholders and investors that the approved merger is a "win-win" for everyone.

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