The Bank Slate


AmeriServ buying out investor to resolve longstanding activist challenge

AmeriServ Financial in Johnstown, Pa., has reached a truce in a longstanding battle with an activist investor.


The $1.4 billion-asset company said in a press release that it signed a cooperation and settlement agreement with Driver Opportunity Partners.


Driver agreed to scrap plans to nominate director candidates at AmeriServ’s annual meeting and to voluntarily dismiss all outstanding litigation. The investo also has agreed to a perpetual standstill where it will refrain from nominating directors or pursue litigation in the future.


AmeriServ agreed to buy about 628,000 shares of its stock held by Driver at a price equal to the average stock price for five days before the shares are bought. Because the stock will be sold at a price below tangible book value, the repurchase will be accretive to AmeriServ shareholders.


AmeriServ said about two-thirds of the remaining costs of $1.8 million tied to the agreement will be covered by directors and officers liability insurance policies.


“We are pleased to have achieved closure in these matters and look forward to continuing to focus on executing our strategic business plan for the benefit of our shareholders, customers, employees and the communities we serve,” J. Michael Adams Jr., AmeriServ’s chairman, said in the release.

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