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Private equity eyes TIB Financial

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  • | 6:57 p.m. October 30, 2009
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Private equity funds are circling Gulf Coast banks.

One potential deal surfaced recently when Patriot Financial Partners submitted an application Oct. 22 with federal regulators for permission to acquire up to 19.9% of Naples-based TIB Financial Corp., the parent of TIB Bank.

Philadelphia-based Patriot is a private-equity fund with more than $300 million in capital that invests in community banks and thrifts. Patriot bills itself as a “value” investor, seeking out companies whose stocks it believes are undervalued and holding them for the long term.

In its application, Patriot cited the book value of TIB Financial stock at $5.28. Shares of TIB Financial recently closed near $1 (symbol: TIBB). Terms of any proposed deal were not disclosed and it's not clear if and when regulators with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia will approve the acquisition. Patriot officials couldn't be reached.

TIB Bank is the fourth-largest bank headquartered on the Gulf Coast, with assets of $1.7 billion. In February, the bank acquired the deposits of Riverside Bank of the Gulf Coast when regulators shut the Cape Coral-based financial institution. TIB Financial recently merged its subsidiary Bank of Venice with TIB Bank.

The prominent Lutgert and Barron Collier families of Naples invested $10.1 million in TIB in the spring of 2008, paying $8.40 a share. However, the continued deterioration of the Gulf Coast economy has hampered the bank, which reported a $3.8 million loss last quarter. The bank signed an agreement with banking regulators in July pledging to raise more capital by the end of the year.

In September, current shareholders voted to increase the number of authorized shares to 100 million so that TIB could conduct a public offering of common stock and raise as much as $75.1 million, according to the company's registration statement.


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