A Manhattan holding company is seeking to enter the banking business by acquiring New York City's Berkshire Bank.
Cooper Life Sciences Inc., which was founded in 1979 to invest in medical-related companies, has offered to buy $114 million-asset Berkshire for about $24.5 million in cash. Cooper would pay $10.50 for each of Berkshire's roughly 2.3 million shares outstanding.
The offer was tendered to Berkshire shareholders in a letter this week. Moses Marx, controlling shareholder of Cooper Life Sciences, is also on the board of directors of privately held Berkshire Bank.
Cooper Life Sciences sold its medical holdings in 1986 and, except for a brief period in the mid-1990s when it owned a mortgage company, has not operated any business since. Steven Rosenberg, Cooper's vice president of finance and acting president, said the company would form a subsidiary, Great American Finance Group, to operate Berkshire Bank. He added that Berkshire would retain its name, board of directors, and employees.
Berkshire Bank, founded in 1989, has offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn.