Sterling Bancorp in Montebello, N.Y., is planning to raise up to $81 million through a stock offering.

The $11.6 billion-asset company said in a press release late Wednesday that it will sell 3.8 million shares of common stock at $21.26 each. The offering is expected to close next Tuesday.

Sterling said it will put the cash to work funding new loans and potential acquisitions.

Hovde Group analyst Joe Fenech wrote In a research note Thursday that he expects Sterling to be an "active participant" in the M&A market next year, especially in specialty finance. Sterling completed its last whole-bank deal for Hudson Valley Holding in Yonkers, N.Y., in June 2015.

Sterling is coming off a strong third quarter in which it earned $37.4 million and its loan portfolio reached a record $9.2 billion.

Sterling closed an $110 million offering of subordinated notes in March.

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