TCF Financial Corp.'s warrants fetched $9.45 million in an auction, an amount that indicates investors are showing renewed interest in these types of securities, according to one industry expert.
The Treasury Department sold 3.2 million warrants in the Wayzata, Minn., company for $3 apiece on Tuesday.
Linus Wilson, an options valuation expert and an assistant professor of finance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, had expected a price of $2.50 a warrant.
He said Treasury auctions in the past two weeks for warrants in JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Capital One Financial Corp. may have driven up bids for TCF's warrants. The JPMorgan Chase and Capital One warrants fetched less than many had expected and have since surged above their offer prices in secondary trading.
"Investors are more eager to buy these nine-year warrants than when the auctions started," Wilson said. "The good one-day returns on the last two auctions may have attracted more aggressive bidders."
He said the TCF auction has important implications for the banking industry because most of the hundreds of institutions that received Troubled Asset Relief Program funds have more in common with TCF than they do with JPMorgan Chase or Capital One. Tuesday's auction demonstrates that investors will not demand a steeper discount for warrants in smaller companies that may be less liquid than big bank warrants.
These types of auctions could become more common as companies seek to repay their Tarp funds. The Treasury took warrants in all of the companies that participated in program. TCF, JPMorgan Chase and Capital One opted to let the government auction off the warrants when negotiations to repurchase them fell through.
More auctions could be on the horizon as Wells Fargo & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc. have not struck deals to repurchase their warrants after negotiating in the past two weeks to repay Tarp aid.