Well, not yet, but the FT is reporting that the Calabasas-based mortgage giant is in talks with Bank of America about some sort of combination. It might be a joint venture in which Countrywide mortgages could be sold at BofA branches, or it could be a straightaway merger. The talks are said to be at an early stage, but it was enough chatter for Countrywide shares to jump more than 4 percent (shares had been up as much as 12.1 percent earlier in the day). The timing might be interesting: Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo opted not to retire late last year, and extended his contract through 2009, when he will be 71. What better way to wrap up his career than to sell out for $30 billion? Meanwhile, Bank of America, which as you might recall is now based in Charlotte, N.C., has been somewhat weak in the mortgage arena. Anyway, the idea makes a fair amount of sense, which has gotten Wall Street folks pretty interested.
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