Magazine article American Banker

This Bank's Sale Was a Team Effort

Magazine article American Banker

This Bank's Sale Was a Team Effort

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Davis

Alpine Bancorp. in Belvidere, Ill., relied on more than just top management and directors as it mulled how to sell itself.

The $1.3 billion-asset company, which agreed in October to sell to Midland States Bancorp in Effingham, Ill., also formed an "evaluation team" of senior executives to participate in the sales process, according to a regulatory filing tied to the companies' planned $181 million merger.

Members of the evaluation team were divided into smaller groups, each tasked with appraising any potential offer from the perspective of four constituencies: shareholders, employees, customers and community members.

Sellers typically rely on the top C-suite executives to analyze a deal. In this case, other managers played an important role throughout the process and were privy to confidential information as Alpine negotiated its sale. The filing did not identify the executives; a call to President and CEO Rex Entsminger was not immediately returned.

Alpine's management team first began to consider selling earlier this year, vetting investment banks between mid-February and early April, the filing said. The company hired Sheshunoff & Co., which spent about a month contacting 15 potential buyers.

By mid-May, five institutions, including Midland, had executed nondisclosure agreements to receive confidential information about Alpine. That was also when Alpine's top executives formed the evaluation team.

Midland made its first offer on June 12, proposing a cash-and-stock deal that valued Alpine at $21 a share. Midland also insisted that certain shareholders, largely members of the Funderburg family, pledge their shares for any deal struck.

The family, which kept an Alpine predecessor solvent during the Great Depression, own at least 79% of the company's stock, the filing said.

An unnamed bank also offered to buy Alpine at a price that was "materially less" than Midland's proposal. …

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