Magazine article American Banker

Florida Company May Become Major Stumbling Block in Unicorp's Attempt to Acquire Atlantic Federal S&L

Magazine article American Banker

Florida Company May Become Major Stumbling Block in Unicorp's Attempt to Acquire Atlantic Federal S&L

Article excerpt

Florida Company May Become Major Stumbling Block In Unicorp's Attempt to Acquire Atlantic Federal S&L

The Unicorp American Corp., which was rebuffed earlier this year in an attempt to take over the CityFed Financial Corp., may have another fight on its hands as it attempts to acquire the Atlantic Federal Savings and Loan Association, a $1.7 billion-asset thrift in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Atlantic Federal said Wednesday that Unicorp, a real estate and financial services company, has offered to pay $21 a share in cash for the 3,036,000 outstanding shares of the thrift. Atlantic Federal's shares were quoted at a bid price of $17 a share at midday Wednesday, up from $15.50 at the close of business on Tuesday.

Atlantic Federal said the proposal would be submitted to a committee of its board of directors for review.

Even if the bid is accepted, however, Unicorp may find another roadblock in the I.R.E. Financial Corp. I.R.E., a financial services company in Coral Gables, Fla., holds a 9.45% stake in Atlantic Federal and holds options to acquire an additional 34.44%.

I.R.E. is waiting for Federal Home Loan Bank Board approval to exercise those options and is not prepared to give up its attempt to gain control of Atlantic Federal.

"I.R.E. intends to advise Atlantic Federal and Unicorp that I.R.E.'s interest in Atlantic Federal is as a long-term investment, and that I.R.E. has no interest in pursuing Unicorp's proposal,' said I.R.E. president Alan B. Levan in a statement.

After several months of haggling, Unicorp reached an agreement with CityFed in February that it would not attempt to acquire more than 20% of CityFed for at least 10 years. Unicorp held an 11.4% stake in CityFed, the nation's 14th largest thrift holding company, at the time of the agreement and has not changed its position since, according to Unicorp spokeswoman Laurie J. …

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