Hanmi files lawsuit blaming SWNB and its board for merger's failure

Register now

Hanmi Financial in Los Angeles has filed a lawsuit against SWNB Bancorp in Houston and its directors, blaming them for the demise of the banks' planned merger.

The $5.4 billion-asset Hanmi alleged in a lawsuit filed on Oct. 2 the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas that SWNB and its board orchestrated a scheme to ensure that the deal would not survive a shareholder vote. The lawsuit alleges that SWNB directors actively advised investors to reject the acquisition.

Hanmi terminated the deal after a pledge to commit a higher percentage of cash failed to secure enough votes during a special meeting held in August.

Hanmi also alleges that the $405 million-asset SWNB breached its contract by replacing members of its leadership team while the agreement was in effect.

The lawsuit seeks damages for losses, along with a $3.1 million termination fee.

Hanmi’s stock has fallen by nearly 20% since the deal was announced in May. At that time, the boards of both companies unanimously approved the merger.

SWNB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, click here.