Magazine article American Banker

Major Provident Shareholder to Vote against Merger; below Book Price Cited

Magazine article American Banker

Major Provident Shareholder to Vote against Merger; below Book Price Cited

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- A large insitutional shareholder of the Provident Institution for Savings said Friday it plans to oppose the Boston thrift's proposed acquisition by the Hartford National Corp. of Connecticut.

"The price is too thin, and we intned to vote our 372,000 shares against the merger," said Steven Lapin, vice president and counsel of the shareholder, Geneve Capital Group of Stamford, Conn.

Geneve's holdings in Provident represent about 9.9% of the thrift's outstanding common shares. Mr. Lapin described Geneve as a financial services company with interests in insurance, real estate, and manufacturing.

Garth Marston, chairman and chief executive officer of the Provident, was unavailable for comment on Friday concerning the Geneve announcement.

Under terms of the Hartford National-Provident agreement, each of Provident's 3.75 million outstanding common shares will be exchanged for $21 in cash, representing 80% of Provident's book value on Sept. 30 of $26.25 per share.

Geneve registered its disapproval of the deal in an F-11 filing with the Fedeal Deposit Insurance Corp., Provident's principal regulator.

Provident, a state-chartered stock savings bank, is heavily owned by institutional investors. Mr. Marston in an earlier interview estimated that as recently as last June about 80% of the company was held by six investment groups. However, one of the company's largest shareholders, Tweedy Browne Inc., reduced its stake in Provident to about 5% from 30%. …

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