C1 Financial in St. Petersburg, Fla., is reportedly looking to sell itself.
Multiple unnamed sources told the South Florida Business Journal that the $1.7 billion-asset company, which went public last year, could be pitching itself to several banks. Trevor Burgess, C1's chief executive, declined to comment when that publication contacted him.
Florida has seen a fair share of acquisitions in the past few years, including the pending sale of City National Bank in Miami to Banco de Crédito e Inversiones and Valley National's deals to buy CNLBancshares and 1st United Bancorp.
With financial backing from Faria de Lima, C1's largest individual shareholder, Burgess oversaw a group of Brazilian investors that recapitalized C1 with $50 million in December 2009. The company's three biggest investors recently disclosed plans to pare back their collective stake in the company to about 42% from 50.1%.
C1 has been a tech innovator and was among the first banks to support paying a so-called living wage to all its employees. Burgess, who holds about 8% of C1 Financial's stock, was honored as one of American Banker's Community Bankers of the Year in 2014.
Katie Pemble resigned as C1's vice chairman last month; the company did not give a reason for her departure nor did it disclose a plan for filling her posts.
A sale "would be very surprising, to say the least," Joseph Fenech, an analyst at Hovde Partners, wrote in a note to clients Monday morning, noting that C1 had only gone public a year earlier and had given no indication that it was open to selling.
C1 Financial's "unique model isn't easily absorbed into a traditional bank," Fenech added. "The one exception could be a larger bank that is impressed with what C1 has built, and essentially 'hires' the C1 team in an acquisition as its Florida platform. While we certainly wouldn't rule out that scenario, we wouldn't be relying on it to occur as we contemplate a potential sale price."