Cohoes Says Hostile Bids Will Not Bust Hudson Deal

By Agosta, Veronica | American Banker, August 3, 2000 | Go to article overview

Cohoes Says Hostile Bids Will Not Bust Hudson Deal


Agosta, Veronica, American Banker


Cohoes Bancorp in upstate New York insists that it will proceed with a planned merger, despite speculation that a bidding war for the thrift could intensify.

Observers expect that more hostile bids for $727 million-asset Cohoes will surface before the thrift's shareholders vote Aug. 17 on a merger with $1.1 billion-asset Hudson River Bancorp of Hudson, N.Y.

But Cohoes president and chief executive Harry L. Robinson dismisses such speculation and argues that the company would only draw larger buyers' attention after its merger with Hudson River. He also hints that Cohoes shareholders could stand to gain through a "double dip" in which the combined Hudson River/Cohoes would sell out to a bigger company."When we complete our merger and ... make the necessary changes, we're going to be a very attractive franchise for a large regional," he said. Large regional banks will not find the acquisition of his Cohoes, N.Y., company "as productive or efficient" as buying a combined Hudson River/Cohoes, he said.

But analysts who follow the company say they are not so sure. They say Cohoes might be able to sell itself to a larger bank than Hudson River now -- and for more money.

Cohoes has received two higher -- though hostile -- offers since the Hudson River deal was announced in April. They were from $2.4 billion-asset Trustco Bank Corp. of Schenectady, N.Y., and $740 million-asset Ambanc Holding Co. of Amsterdam, N.Y. Trustco made a stock-swap offer worth $16 a share, and Ambanc recently increased its all-cash offer to $16.50 a share, from $15.25.

Those bids triggered the speculation that regional banks established in the Albany area could go after Cohoes before the vote on the Hudson River deal. Analysts mention Charter One Financial Inc. …

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