Flushing, Empire affirm commitment to delayed merger

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Flushing Financial in Uniondale, N.Y., and Empire Bancorp in Islandia, N.Y., said they intend to forge ahead with their planned merger despite a coronavirus-imposed delay.

The merger agreement, announced in late October, allowed either company to terminate the $111.6 million deal after a July 31 deadline. But the companies said in a press release Monday that they “are engaged in discussions for a longer-term extension of time to complete the merger.”

They did not specify a new closing date.

The $7 billion-asset Flushing and the $1 billion-asset Empire said in March that they would be unable to close the deal in April as planned. They said at the time that they would target the end of the second quarter or early in the third quarter to complete the deal.

The companies cited unprecedented operational challenges and stock market instability for the delay.

“We strongly believe that the Empire merger remains financially attractive to our stockholders, and that continuing to pursue its completion is in the best interest of Flushing, Empire and our respective customers,” John Buran, Flushing’s president and CEO, said when announcing the initial delay.

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