NEW YORK, June 19 (Reuters) - Wachovia, subject of takeover speculation after a series of missteps, has hired investment bank Goldman Sachs to advise on strategy and aid its search for a new chief executive, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday.
The paper, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation, said there has been speculation about a potential deal involving Wachovia since word leaked out that the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank had retained Goldman.
Wachovia, which has posted $5.3 billion of market related write-downs since last summer, named director Lanty Smith as an interim replacement for CEO Kennedy Thompson. The bank has slipped to sixth place among U.S. banks from fifth, while its share price plunged 68 percent over the past year.
That said, the Journal reported Smith has told top executives at the bank that Wachovia intends to remain independent, citing the unnamed sources.
Officials at Wachovia could not be reached for comment.
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