Wells Fargo Grows Bond Underwriting

Bank brought 5% of corporate bonds sold this year, up from 3.6% in 2009.

Wells Fargo & Co. is seizing a bigger share of U.S. corporate bond sales, underwriting its highest portion of deals on record this year as the bank climbs the ranks after buying Wachovia Corp. in 2008.

Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets, has underwritten 5 percent of this year’s sales, excluding self-led deals, up from 3.6 percent in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The bank has aided borrowers from Clorox Co. to Newfield Exploration Co. in sales of $48.3 billion, ranking it as the eighth most active underwriter of the debt. That’s up from 11th in 2010.

Changed Strategy

The bank’s strategy changed after it acquired Wachovia in December 2008 as the Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender neared collapse. Wachovia underwrote 2.6 percent of investment- grade deals and 2 percent of high-yield transactions in 2008. Wells Fargo executives liked what they saw in Wachovia and tapped John Shrewsberry to oversee an expansion of the investment-banking unit.

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