Magazine article American Banker

BankAtlantic Withdraws Secondary Offering

Magazine article American Banker

BankAtlantic Withdraws Secondary Offering

Article excerpt

BankAtlantic Bancorp, whose stock has faltered since the Florida company's March 4 announcement that it was planning a $120 million secondary stock offering, said Tuesday that it had killed the plan.

"In the final analysis, we didn't need the extra capital, and it was going to be expensive to raise it," chief executive Alan B. Levan said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

The decision "has no impact on our business model," said Mr. Levan, who is also president and chairman.

The March 4 announcement said BankAtlantic hoped to raise $110 million to $120 million to fund acquisitions and replace the capital lost when it spun off its Levitt Corp. real estate development unit on Jan. 1. No date had been set for the 6-million-share offering.

But the plan did not sit well with investors. As of Tuesday the Fort Lauderdale company's shares had fallen nearly 19% since the announcement. On the year the stock is down 20%.

"We heard from a number of institutional shareholders that they were concerned about the overhang of the offering over our stock price," Mr. Levan said.

That prompted the $4.8 billion-asset company to reduce the offering three weeks ago by 2 million shares, but the stock kept falling. "We of course want to be responsive to our shareholders," Mr. Levan said. "When our stock didn't respond appropriately, we decided to cancel it."

Storing capital at such costs made no sense for a company with sufficient liquidity, the CEO said. "We are not under any pressure to raise additional capital," he said. But BankAtlantic has left the door open for future offerings should the need for capital arise.

Its capital position has improved since March, helped by strong fourth- and first-quarter earnings, Mr. Levan said.

On March 25 the company said it had settled a lawsuit with a technology company it invested in back in 1999. …

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