“We need a merger partner or we’re not going to make it,” Mr. Mack told Mr. Pandit, according to two people briefed on the talks. Mr. Pandit, a former senior investment banker at Morgan Stanley, said Citigroup was not interested. It is thinking of deals it can strike with consumer banks, like buying the struggling Washington Mutual out of bankruptcy if its reported efforts to auction itself should fail, that would provide it with cheaper deposit funding. A Citigroup spokeswoman declined to comment.
On Thursday morning, a spokeswoman for Morgan Stanley said that Mr. Mack “vigorously denies” making the statement to Mr. Pandit.
Having failed at that, Mr. Mack entered into discussions on Wednesday with Wachovia and several other banks, people briefed on those discussions said. The talks with Wachovia are preliminary and a deal may not emerge. The banks declined to comment.”
This NY Times article reports a discussion based on speculation, writes a line noting that those involved in that discussion vehementaly deny it, then continues the article as if that denial had never happened. One would expect better from them.