A well-known activist investor is playing a major role in the planned merger of similar sized banks in New Jersey.

Lawrence Seidman helped break the ice between Center Bancorp (CNBC) in Union, N.J., and ConnectOne Bancorp (CNOB) in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., according to a filing tied to the $243 million merger announced in January. Seidman, who also agreed to sell more than 2.3 million shares of Center's stock as part of the merger, will also receive $100,000 as part of a two-year consulting agreement.

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