Bank of America looks away from European acquisitions

14 December 2006

Bank of America chief executive Kenneth Lewis explained that he would take ''some convincing'' to look across the Atlantic to buy a European Bank, yesterday.

Speaking to analysts in New York, Mr Lewis made the comments after Merrill Lynch analysts earlier this month revealed the Bank of America could be interested in acquiring a London-based bank, with many thinking of Barclays.

Mr Lewis said: ''We never say never, but I don't think it's a strategic imperative.

''There would have to be some convincing before we pull the trigger.''

Concerns that Mr Lewis expressed about making acquisitions in Europe included ''fear of the unknown in doing a transaction in Europe because we've never done one'' and the more concrete worries over tighter labour laws.

During his time at the helm of Bank of America, Mr Lewis has led acquisition spending of around $90 billion.

At the meeting it was also explained that the Bank of America was to spend as much as $400 million on expanding capital market business in Europe and Asia, after similar moves in the US, and would build on its credit card business in the UK, Ireland, Spain and Canada.

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