Spurned last month in its attempt to buy Carver Bancorp, Boston Bank of Commerce is turning up the heat on the New York thrift company.
The offer for $420 million-asset Carver, the biggest black-owned banking company, has been raised to $29.7 million-nearly book value, the $106 million-asset Boston bank said. The original offer was never disclosed, but Carver, in rejecting it March 19, said it was well below book.
The new offer, announced March 30, works out to $13.51 a share-56.6% more than Carver's trading price of $8.625 that day. Carver shares, which had swung between $6 and $10 since September, were trading at $11 at midday Monday.
Kevin Cohee, chairman and chief executive officer of the Boston bank, said the revised offer "shows we are listening to Carver's board of directors and shareholders and trying to meet their needs."
"We continue to believe that a combination would strengthen both institutions, and benefit the African-American communities of both New York and Boston," Mr. Cohee said.
A merger could be the first step toward building a nationwide minority- owned franchise, he said. Boston Bank of Commerce already owns a 7% stake in the New York company.
A spokesman for Carver confirmed that it had received the new offer, but he declined to discuss it. He said he expects Carver's board to consider it at its next meeting, which will probably be held this month.
The Boston bank also said last week that it would nominate Mr. Cohee and senior vice president Teri Williams to Carver's board of directors, whose members include former New York Mayor David Dinkins.
The board has fought off sale proposals at its last two annual meetings.
But the thrift's situation has deteriorated of late. Burdened by troubles in its loan portfolio and a complicated data processing system conversion, Carver reported a $5.7 million pretax loss for the quarter that ended Dec. 31.
The thrift is also operating without a leader. Chief executive officer Thomas L. Clark Jr. was fired in January, and no successor has been named.