You "older" stock holders correct me if I'm wrong... I believe around 6-8 years ago, when the stock was a little higher than it is now Wells Fargo made an offer to purchase. They offered some where around $ 60.00/share. The board wanted $ 61.00/share. Wells Fargo wouldn't pay that & the offer fell through.
And, to bring out a few points: "Speculation that Associated Banc-Corp ...", "Highly specific rumors circulated ...", "... which was the subject of earlier rumors.", and "was the subject of rumors". I guess the least one can say is that these rumors were interesting enough to make the Milwaukee Journal.
Refer to post 2443. And everything regarding Wells/ASBC in 1999 was pure speculation, wishful thinking, rumor, message board chatter, whatever you want to call it. And, at the time, the stock was MUCH LOWER than it is today -- as Letterkenny pointed out, since the day/week of that rumor, ASBC has gained 90% or more in value (almost doubled!).