Six weeks after a merger deal between Cohoes Bancorp and Hudson River Bancorp collapsed, Trustco Bank Corp. of Schenectady, N.Y., has redoubled its efforts to acquire the two upstate New York thrift companies.

Trustco, with $2.4 billion in assets, upped the ante this week with a cash and stock offering of $18 per share for Cohoes and $17 per share for Hudson River, according to documents filed Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Trustco has been pursuing both companies since June. Its original offers — both of which were rejected — were stock swaps valued at $16 per share for Cohoes and $14 per share for Hudson River.

Hudson River, of Hudson, N.Y., is the larger of the two acquisition targets, with $1.1 billion of assets. But at least one other company is also scrambling for Cohoes, which has $726 million.

Trustco and Ambanc Holding Co., in Amsterdam, have been locked in a bidding war since April, when Cohoes announced plans to merge with Hudson River, which had agreed to pay $11 per share in stock.

Shareholders of Cohoes, which is based in the city of that name, narrowly rejected that deal in August, leaving the door open for another pairing.

Last week Cohoes said it hired investment banking firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods to explore strategic options, including sale to a larger financial institution.

Ambanc does not fit that description — it has only $703 million of assets — but Trustco does. Still, Cohoes urged both companies last week to drop their pursuit and forego their bids for board seats.

“Continuation of these efforts by Ambanc and Trustco will be disruptive, expensive, and could delay or impede our efforts to maximize shareholder value,” Cohoes said in a statement.

Until Trustco’s new offer, Ambanc’s bid for Cohoes — $16.50 per share — had been the highest. That bid is set to expire Friday, and Ambanc’s president and chief executive, John M. Lisicki, said his company has not decided whether to amend or extend it.

According to the SEC filing, Trustco plans to nominate four people to Cohoes board, which has four open seats. Ambanc reported in August that it would nominate three people. Cohoes’ annual shareholder meeting is scheduled for Nov. 30.

Trustco’s latest offer “will be considered in due course by Cohoes Bancorp’s board of directors, and we will communicate the board’s recommendation to Cohoes’ shareholders directly,” Cohoes said in a press release.


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