There were merger talks earlier this year between FleetBoston Financial Corp. and John Hancock Financial Services, according to the Associated Press. However, the talks were called off, as each side reportedly feared a hostile takeover.

Executives from both firms have long discusssed the idea of a friendly merger to create a giant global financial services firm that would offer banking, insurance and the sale of stocks and bonds. But The Boston Globe reported yesterday that the chief executives of the two firms, along with their M&A teams, had met in person several times over the past two months. But that talks ended three weeks ago, before any negotiations concerning price took place, The Globe reported.

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