Wells Fargo misses merger opportunity; also: Is bank’s bidding an argument against bailout? And: Kemps and Caribou debut coffee-milk drink

Wells Fargo just missed a shot at becoming one of the nation’s three largest banks. The Star Tribune reports that Wells Fargo, one of Minnesota’s largest employers, was on the brink of closing a deal Sunday to buy Wachovia Corp., the nation’s fourth-largest bank. It’s not exactly clear how the deal came apart in the eleventh hour, but an aggressive Citigroup swooped in to buy the bank instead.

As it seeks to acquire other banks, is Wells Fargo making a case against a government bailout? Investment blogger Todd Sullivan argues private bidding for struggling banks like Wachovia and Washington Mutual, both reportedly pursued by Wells Fargo, suggests the $700 billion bailout isn’t necessary. “It really does not matter who does the buying, it is the action of it that will solve the problem,” Sullivan writes. He suggests a smaller package, along with raising FDIC deposit insurance to $250,000.

Make room in the convenience store fridge for another caffeinated drink. Kemps and Caribou Coffee have unveiled a new chilled coffee milk beverage, called Kemps Caribou Coffee Milk. The drink is “targeted at busy moms, college students and business professionals who often need a boost of energy to keep up with their action-packed schedules, but want the great nutrition of milk,” the companies said. They’re for sale in the Twin Cities as of Monday.

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