Six months after losing a proxy battle, an aggressive California hedge fund has cashed out of its investment in one of the three Boston-area thrifts it has been pressuring to sell.
Signaling that it didn't see any chance for major earnings improvement, Genesis Financial Partners in early October sold 105,000 shares of Abington (Mass.) Savings Bank for about $1.8 million.
The price means the fund roughly broke even on its initial investment from a year ago.
The sale eliminates the last of Genesis' stake, once estimated to be 6.4% of Abington stock, while removing a thorn from the side of the thrift's management.
The move is likely to have stirred comment in the Massachusetts thrift community, since Genesis official Stephen H. Gordon has been grabbing headlines with fiery rhetoric against Central Co-operative Bank in Somerville and Lawrence Savings Bank as well as Abington.
Abington officials could not be reached for comment.
"I'm sure it has caught their attention," James Moynihan, senior vice president of Advest Group in Boston, said of the other two thrifts.
"I'm happy, of course, for Abington," said Paul A. Miller, Lawrence Savings' president and chief executive. But he didn't want to comment further on the sale.
The move by Genesis follows the fund's defeat by shareholders at Abington's March annual meeting, when the hedge fund sought to pass a resolution calling on management to cut costs by 20% or sell out. The resolution failed, with only 18% of outstanding shares voted in favor.
Mr. Gordon, president of Genesis general partner Gen Fin Inc., denied that the sale marked a retreat for Genesis. He said he decided to sell his stake after concluding that he "didn't have any shareholder support to implement the changes, and didn't have the feeling that management would do it."
"I felt that I could get better returns elsewhere than I could holding Abington stock," he said. "It made sense to sell it. I can do other things with the money."