Bank of America, based Charlotte, N.C., announced today that it would acquire rival FleetBoston Financial for $47 billion in stock. The acquisition is one of the largest ever in the banking sector, according to a report by The Associated Press.
The Fleet name may also disappear from Boston's FleetCenter, home of the National Basketball Association's Celtics and National Hockey League's Bruins, though a spokeswoman said it was too early to say.
Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston, worked with FleetBoston on its last major ad campaign in April. FleetBoston spent $48 million on measured media in 2002, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR, and had planned to spend around $90 million on advertising this year, Hill Holliday said. FleetBoston's tagline is "Forward Thinking."
The merger news no doubt results in months of uncertainty for Hill Holliday's account, though a spokesman for agency said it would take a "wait and see" approach. Indeed, the merger may face regulatory hurdles and is not scheduled to close until mid-2004.
Bank of America spent $193 million on measured media in 2002, according to CMR. As reported last week by Advertising Age magazine, Bank of America is currently engaged in a search for a consultant to help evaluate its partnership with Interpublic. Bank of America employs 15 separate shops from within the holding company, including Deutsch and Gotham.