San Francisco'sPacific Bank reported that it had received an "unsolicited indication of interest" from another financial institution but would remain independent, in accord with the wishes of its largest shareholder.
The bank did not identify the company that expressed interest in it. John P. Halicky, Pacific's chief financial officer, said no formal offer was made, but he declined to give any other details.
Campbell K. Chaney, bank analyst at Sandler O'Neill & Partners in San Francisco, speculated that it might have been Bancorp Hawaii. He noted that the $14 billion-asset bank, which has just announced a deal for Encino, Calif.-based CU Bancorp, has been looking to buy a bank on the mainland that does international trade finance, particularly with the Pacific Rim.
"Pacific Bank would fit that bill," Mr. Chaney said. "It would fit with what Bancorp Hawaii is trying to do."
Pacific's stock, which had been trading at $27 in mid-January, took off during the next few weeks, rising to $38 in February. It was trading at $35.38 on Tuesday.
Officials of $477 million-asset Pacific consulted about the informal offer with its controlling shareholder, Singapore businesswoman Cheong Swee Kheng. Mr. Halicky said. He said he did not know if Ms. Cheong, who owns 43% of Pacific's stock, objected to this particular offer or wanted the bank to remain independent regardless of who wanted to buy it.
Under the national bank charter, a merger or other capital transaction requires the approval of two-thirds of the shares, so Ms. Cheong would have a veto. Two directors on the nine-member board generally represent her interests.
Ms. Cheong also blocked a late-1994 buyout offer, from Coos Bay, Ore.- based Western Bank, when she purchased about 35% of Pacific's stock in early 1995. Western was later sold to Washington Mutual Inc., Seattle.