Magazine article American Banker

Ameritrust Stalls Answering Offer by National City

Magazine article American Banker

Ameritrust Stalls Answering Offer by National City

Article excerpt

Ameritrust Stalls Answering Offer By National City

Ameritrust Corp. on Thursday deferred a decision on National City Corp.'s takeover offer, saying the board wanted to complete a review of various options, "including that of remaining independent."

Ameritrust did not specify a deadline for making a decision.

Two Overtures Ignored

Analysts speculated that the board may be considering another bid or is stalling to allow other potential acquirers to counter the proposed $870 million stock swap.

Ameritrust had ignored two overtures from National City dating back to last year. Both companies are based in Cleveland.

Other companies said to be interested in Ameritrust include Detroit-based NBD Bancorp, Society Corp. of Cleveland, and McDonald & Co.

Ameritrust's stock closed unchanged Thursday at $21.875, while shares of National City rose 75 cents to $36.50.

|Plenty of Time'

National City officials were reportedly miffed by Ameritrust's decision, especially since the first takeover overtures were made last fall. "They've had plenty of time," a source close to the company said.

A spokesman for National City declined comment.

Analysts speculated that National City may decide to sweeten its offer if Ameritrust agrees to open negotiations.

Hostile Run Is Possible

A hostile run also is possible, although that would trigger a shareholder rights plan, which could increase the purchase price.

In addition, almost 30% of Ameritrust's outstanding shares are held by units of the bank itself: The Employee Stock Ownership Plan holds 13. …

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