Western Liberty Bancorp Inc. in Las Vegas has hired Sandler O'Neil & Partners LP to search for strategic alternatives, including a possible sale, just eight after the special-purpose acquisition company completed its first bank acquisition.

The $228 million-asset company, organized nearly four years ago as Global Consumer Acquisition Corp., said Wednesday that other alternatives could include a merger or share repurchases.

Michel B. Frankel, the company's chairman, said in a press release that Western Liberty is looking to maximize shareholder value. "We have an abundance of capital at the holding company level and more than adequate liquidity and strong capital at the bank," he said. "We believe neither of these strengths are reflected in our current market value."

The company struck two deals that ultimately fizzled in 2009. In October 2010, it acquired of Service1st Bank of Nevada, a struggling de novo in Las Vegas.

Western Liberty also disclosed Wednesday that a few of its larger credits deteriorated in the second quarter and that it expects to book a loan loss provision of $4 million to $5 million in the second quarter. By comparison, the company reported a provision of $1.3 million in the first quarter.

The bank is exceedingly well-capitalized, with a total risk-based capital ratio of 33.73%.

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