MERGERS: If at First You Don't Succeed

If at First You Don't Succeed

The bolder the reach, the more it suits him. Sanford Weill, who resigned as president of American Express in 1985, has since made daring but unsuccessful bids to take over BankAmerica and the consumer-loan subsidiary of Manufacturers Hanover Trust. Last week Weill's persistence paid off. Commercial Credit Group, the Baltimore-based consumer-finance company (assets: $4.4 billion) he now heads, agreed to take over Primerica, a Connecticut-based financial-services firm that has three times the assets of Weill's corporation and owns the Smith Barney brokerage firm.

The $1.7 billion buyout, to be financed mostly by giving Commercial Credit stock to Primerica shareholders, marks a...

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