Despite a full plate on the M&A front, Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley (NYSE:MI) was still able to assemble a decent second quarter. Better yet, an upcoming spinoff may interest certain value investors.

For the quarter, M&I posted a slightly more than 6% improvement in "core operating income," to $0.84 per share. Reported results came in a bit lower, at $0.83 per share, but actually grew more than 12% year over year. The difference relates primarily to costs tied to the upcoming move to free Metavante from M&I's corporate fold, and to a more minor gain from the sale of MasterCard (NYSE:MA) stock.

Metavante represents M&I's financial data and banking processing business, which competes in the lucrative payment-processing industry with the likes of First Data (NYSE:FDC), CheckFree (NASDAQ:CKFR), and Fiserv (NASDAQ:FISV). Fellow Fool Emil Lee believes Metavante is worth a further look once it's spun off to shareholders.

The move makes sense, especially since investors have apparently given M&I little credit for Metavante's cash-generating operations. However, once the transaction takes place, M&I will be left to grow in its stodgy Midwestern market, which includes Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota, and Oklahoma. Indiana will soon be on the map, now that M&I has announced it will acquire First Indiana (NASDAQ:FINB).

Otherwise, the bank has more favorable exposure to faster-growing markets in Florida and Arizona, with one location in Las Vegas as well. Time will tell whether the new M&I can continue posting double-digit increases in net interest and non-interest income, organically or through external acquisitions. In the meantime, M&A activity should continue to pique investors' interest in the company and its upcoming spinoff.

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Fool contributor Ryan Fuhrmann has no financial interest in any company mentioned. Feel free to email him with feedback or to discuss any companies mentioned further. The Fool has an ironclad disclosure policy.