Yielding to pressure from a rival and potential suitor, Long Island's Sunrise Bancorp has agreed to provide confidential bank information to North Fork Bancorp. and other financial institutions interested in buying Sunrise.
Sunrise said that allowing North Fork and other institutions to peruse the records will allow it to "review its strategic alternatives."
Sunrise, a $595 million-asset thrift company based in Farmingdale, N.Y., has been under intense pressure from Mattituck-based North Fork since January. The $2.7 billion-asset bank had offered to buy Sunrise for 136% of book value, which would have translated into about $85 million.
Sunrise officials had rejected both the offer and repeated requests by North Fork's president and chief executive, John Adam Kanas, to meet with Sunrise directors to explain his proposals.
Mr. Kanas declined to comment because North Fork now has a confidentiality agreement with the thrift.
But the decision to release the confidential information comes almost two weeks after Mr. Kanas offered to sweeten both the price and structure of the deal to suit Sunrise's needs. And the bank has already acquired 9.9% of Sunrise stock.
Mr. Kanas also demanded that if Sunrise entered talks with another institution, North Fork should be provided the same confidential information and an opportunity to submit a counterproposal.
Sunrise is the target of a shareholder lawsuit accusing directors of refusing to negotiate fairly with North Fork and trying to entrench themselves in their positions. The suit demanded that Sunrise explore merger opportunities.