Takeover target Great Western Financial Corp. saw its share price edge up 75 cents to close at $45.75 on the New York Stock Exchange, exceeding the value of H.F. Ahmanson’s unsolicited bid Monday and fueling speculation that a higher offer will be made by the nation’s largest thrift or a competing bidder. Irwindale-based Ahmanson, the parent of Home Savings of America, saw its stock fall for the second straight day, down $1.125 to close at $42. Ahmanson’s offer is now valued at $44.10 a Great Western share, or $6.14 billion. A well-placed source said Thursday that Chatsworth-based Great Western has already contacted at least two potential suitors in an effort to avoid Ahmanson’s grasp. The most likely other bidders are Seattle-based Washington Mutual, which recently entered California by acquiring American Savings; Minneapolis-based First Bank System Inc., which failed in a duel with Wells Fargo & Co. for First Interstate Bancorp; and NationsBank Corp. in Charlotte, N.C., which has expressed interest in buying a California thrift. Meanwhile, Ahmanson said it was preparing estimates on the number of jobs that may be cut in a merger as well as a response to Great Western’s criticisms about Ahmanson statements that only GW employees stood to lose out in a combination of the two companies.
GW Stock Price Continues to Rise
Times Staff and Wire Reports