BOSTON - Bank of America Corp., the nation's third-largest bank, has agreed to buy FleetBoston Financial Corp, in a $47 billion deal that will create one of the biggest banking companies in the world, the banks announced Monday.
The deal will establish a new company that will be the nation's largest consumer bank with about 33 million customers and 2.5 million business clients in the United States and 34 countries, the companies said in a statement.
Bank of America, based in Charlotte, N.C., will pay $45 a share for Fleet in an all-stock deal, a premium of more than 41 percent over FleetBoston's closing price on Friday.
The agreement has been approved by both boards of directors and is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval. The closing is expected in the first half of 2004.
Charles K. Gifford, chairman and chief executive officer of FleetBoston, will be chairman of the board of directors of the merged company. Kenneth D. Lewis, chairman and chief executive officer of Bank of America, will be chief executive officer of the merged company, which will have its headquarters in Charlotte.
"This merger is about delivering the combined capabilities of two powerful organizations to our customers, shareholders and communities," Lewis said in a statement.
Bank of America will replace the Fleet name in the Northeast. Bank of America agreed to keep employment levels in New England at current levels.
Bank of America has $737 billion in assets and $409 billion in deposits. Fleet, based in Boston, has assets of about $196 billion. Bank of America has 133,000 employees, to 47,700 for Fleet.