T. Rowe Price's stock jumps 10% to $66.94 'A real jewel' perhaps being coveted for 'someone's crown'

September 20, 1997|By Bill Atkinson | Bill Atkinson,SUN STAFF

T. Rowe Price Associates Inc.'s stock shot up 10 percent yesterday, apparently on speculation that there will be more acquisitions in the financial services industry.

Shares of the Baltimore-based mutual fund company's stock soared $6.0625 to a 52-week high of $66.94.

Steven Norwitz, a spokesman for Price, said there have been "no corporate announcements that the market might react to. We haven't had any announcements at all."

Company executives have previously been adamant in saying that they intend to remain independent.

But the pace of mergers and acquisitions in the financial services industry has been brisk this year, and almost any company appears to be a target.

Bankers Trust New York Corp., which completed its acquisition of Baltimore-based Alex. Brown Inc. on Sept. 1, was rumored this week to be in negotiations with Travelers Group Inc., a New York-based diversified financial company.

Its stock soared as much as 13 percent on Thursday before closing at a high of $124, up $5.68 a share.

But Bankers Trust officials said Thursday that the company is not in merger talks with any firm.

Typically, rumors that one company is in merger talks spur the stocks of other financial services firms.

Shares of Legg Mason Inc., however, fell $1.50 yesterday to $65.312.

Some observers believe that Price would make a great acquisition. It is highly profitable, is among the country's 20 largest mutual fund companies with $120 billion in assets under management, and is successfully building a business that manages 401(k) plans for companies.

"T. Rowe Price is a premier asset manager and would be a real jewel in someone's crown," Bruce Brewington, an analyst at San Francisco-based Putnam, Lovell & Thornton, told Bloomberg News.

Pub Date: 9/20/97

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