Magazine article American Banker

St. Paul's Stock Drops; Thrift Mum on Rumor of Buyout Offer from Amro

Magazine article American Banker

St. Paul's Stock Drops; Thrift Mum on Rumor of Buyout Offer from Amro

Article excerpt

No news is bad news for St. Paul Bancorp's stock.

After riding to a 52-week high of nearly $26 last Friday on rumored takeover talks, the Chicago company's stock this week fell because a deal has not materialized.

The $4.1 billion-asset St. Paul, which is Illinois' largest independent thrift, reportedly has been talking with Amsterdam-based ABN Amro. ABN is said to be offering $30 a share for the thrift.

A spokeswoman for St. Paul wouldn't comment on the rumors.

After rising for several days, St. Paul's stock peaked at $25 3/4 last Friday, up 44% since the beginning of the year. But with no acquisition news, the stock was trading at $23.50 late on Wednesday.

Byron Aldridge, chief investment officer with Houston-based Jenswold King & Associates, which holds 550,000 shares of St. Paul, reportedly confirmed that St. Paul was in negotiations to be acquired and may be negotiating with ABN Amro.

Reached at his office, Mr. Aldridge declined to comment.

"If you would've asked me last week on Wednesday or Thursday, I would've been leaning towards an imminent public announcement," said Wayne Bopp, a thrift analyst with Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., St. Louis.

Now, he's leaning toward no deal, in part because he learned that St. Paul chief executive Joseph Scully was out of town when the alleged acquisition team would have been at the thrift.

Furthermore, Mr. Bopp believes that St. Paul's heavy holdings in California real estate could deter ABN from completing the deal. The company was extremely concerned during its acquisition of Chicago's Cragin Federal Bank, which had fewer California real estate holdings than St. …

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