8 Announced in June 1998 California-based Wells Fargo and Norwest Bank of Minneapolis estimated a “merger of equals” in a warehouse deal at $ 34 billion and one that created in the western hemisphere the largest and most diversified financial services network. The Wells-Norwest combined company would be $ 191 billion in assets, more than 90,000 employees, 20 million customers and 5,777 financial services “stores” (mortgage, consumer finance, banking or stores) in 50 states, Canada … Read more »

8 Announced in June 1998 California-based Wells Fargo and Norwest Bank of Minneapolis estimated a “merger of equals” in a warehouse deal at $ 34 billion and one that created in the western hemisphere the largest and most diversified financial services network. The Wells-Norwest combined company would be $ 191 billion in assets, more than 90,000 employees, 20 million customers and 5,777 financial services “stores” (mortgage, consumer finance or banking stores) in 50 states, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America , as well as internationally. The new combined company, Wells Fargo & Co., would be the sixth largest bank in the United States and the largest supermarket chain store network and the largest Internet bank of a U.S. bank. With the merger, Paul Hazen, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo at the time, chairman of the new organization. Richard Kovacevich, chairman and CEO of Norwest, became president and CEO of the new organization. Despite Kovacevich’s and Hazen enthusiasm for the merger, they had to overcome a number of potential barriers: First, Wells Fargo and Norwest had contrasting cultures – Norwest was known for customer service and a superior sales culture, while Wells Fargo was a leader in online banking and technology, with a focus on efficiency. Second, in 1998, Wells Fargo was still in the process of overcoming a merger with First Interstate, often drawn a failure into account. Finally, many analysts considered the Wells-Norwest merger with much caution. Given these barriers, Kovacevich and his team asked how they could overcome such problems through optimal integration strategy and effective execution of this plan.
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from
Jeffrey Pfeffer,
Victoria Chang
Charles A. O’Reilly
Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business
18 pages.
Publication Date: Oct 11, 2004. Prod #: HR26A-PDF-ENG
Wells Fargo and Norwest: “Merger of Equals” (A) HBR case solution

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