The Bank Slate


Investor proposes buying big stake in Republic First

An investor group has proposed a transaction that would give it a large stake in Republic First Bancorp in Philadelphia.

The group, which includes George Norcross and Gregory Braca, sent a letter to the $5.7 billion-asset company’s board on Sept. 22 proposing a transaction where the investors would invest $50 million in exchange for newly issued convertible preferred stock.
The Norcross-Braca group also expressed an interest in buying stock from existing investors for $3.25 to $3.50 each that, when combined with the conversion of the preferred stock, could give them a stake as high as 45% in Republic First.
Republic First said in its own letter that its strategic review committee will evaluate the investor group’s proposal.
The company said it is in the process of completing non-disclosure agreements with parties that have expressed interest in buying the bank. The plan is to enter into several NDAs in coming days, though Republic First said the Norcross-Braca group refused to sign an NDA.
The back and forth comes shortly after Republic First disclosed that it had begun a strategic review process after receiving “inquiries by multiple parties expressing interest in one or more potential strategic transactions.”
The Norcross-Braca wrote in a Sept. 16 letter to the company’s board that it believes “a financially attractive proposal … is unlikely” due to the company’s financial position. The investor urged the company to avoid a “firesale.”

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