Sinead Martin Laura McNamara
PUTNAM INTENDS TO VOTE AGAINST PROPOSED MERGER OF PROVIDIAN FINANCIAL
CORPORATION WITH WASHINGTON MUTUAL INC.
August 1, 2005
– Putnam Investments and the Board of Trustees of
the Putnam Mutual Funds today announced that they intend to vote shares of
Providian Financial Corporation held in client accounts and the Funds,
respectively, against the proposed merger of Providian with Washington
Putnam regards the price as inadequate and believes recent fundamental
trends and Providian management's outlook confirm Putnam's judgment on the
value of the Providian franchise. In a consolidating industry and in light
of the recently announced Bank of America/MBNA transaction, mono-line credit
card companies such as Providian represent an increasingly scarce asset that
should command a higher price. By accepting a price well below the fair
value of the Providian common stock, Putnam believes the merger would
transfer significant value to Washington Mutual's existing shareholders, at
the direct expense of Providian's shareholders.
Putnam Investments and the Putnam Funds currently have the power to vote
approximately 7.5% of Providian’s outstanding shares of common stock (based
upon the number of shares outstanding as of
June 30, 2005).
About Putnam Investments:
Founded in 1937, Putnam Investments is one of the nation’s oldest and
largest money management firms. As of June
Putnam managed $195 billion in assets, of which $132 billion is for mutual
fund investors and $63 billion is for institutional clients. Putnam has
headquarters in Boston
and offices in London and Tokyo.