Magazine article American Banker

Revealing Sale Talks, Liberty Spurs Speculation about Buyer

Magazine article American Banker

Revealing Sale Talks, Liberty Spurs Speculation about Buyer

Article excerpt

Liberty Bancorp's announcement that it is in negotiations to sell itself has the rumor mill humming.

Analysts speculate that Harris Bankcorp, NBD Bancorp, First Chicago Corp., or Cole Taylor Financial Group could be interested in acquiring the $576 million asset thrift company to expand their market share in Chicago.

Milwaukee-based Security Capital Corp. could also be in the running to get a foothold in the market, the analysts say.

The analysts said Liberty, the holding company for Liberty Federal Savings Bank, could command about $35 a share in an acquisition. The thrift company recently retained Adams Cohen Securities as its financial adviser.

'Not in Anything Risky'

Liberty is a well-run conservative thrift that would be a "safe" bet for an acquirer, said Daniel L. Westrope, first vice president at Howe Barnes Investments in Chicago. "They're not in anything risky."

Joseph Stachnik, chief financial officer with the thrift, declined to comment on the negotiations.

Industry watchers said Liberty's announcement last week that it was negotiating an acquisition deal wasn't unexpected.

"They have been identified as a takeover candidate 'for a while," Mr. Westrope said.

Christine Pavel, an analyst at the Chicago Corp., said rising interest rates have slowed the mortgage business at thrifts like Liberty,

"I'm not surprised [Liberty is in negotiations] because ifs not really a good year for the traditional thrifts," she said.

The analysts say an in-market acquisition makes the most sense. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.