A big shareholder of Pacific Enterprise Bancorp has voiced his opposition to the Irvine, Calif., company’s pending sale to BayCom in Walnut Creek, Calif.
The $2.1 billion-asset BayCom agreed in September to buy the $647 million-asset Pacific Enterprise for $53.1 million in stock. The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter, priced Pacific Enterprise at 87% of its tangible book value.
Shaul Kopelowitz, who holds about 9.9% of Pacific Enterprise’s stock, said in an open letter to other shareholders that he believes the pending sale to be “an ill-conceived and strategically flawed merger agreement.”
Kopelowitz said he has also applied with the Federal Reserve to buy more Pacific Enterprise shares.
“It appears that no non-distressed California bank since the Great Recession has sold for less than book value,” Kopelowitz claimed in his letter. “In fact, the average premium for a regional bank merger or acquisition over the last five years is 173.25% of tangible book value.”
Kopelwitz said he is willing to meet with Pacific Enterprise’s board to discuss “value-enhancing alternatives once this deal is hopefully voted down.”