Equitable Bancorp, a Baltimore bank holding company that owns a majority of University National Bank stock, is making a new bid to buy out the smaller institution's minority shareholders.
Directors of Equitable and Unibank, based in Rockville, approved a proposed merger in which cash would be paid to minority stockholders at the rate of $22 a share of Unibank stock as of March 15.
The proposed transaction would take place after a 5 per cent stock dividend to Unibank owners to be distributed March 15. Thus, the offer by Equitable is the equivalent of $23.10 a share. Equitable already owns 55.9 per cent of the Rockville bank.
Owners of a least two-thirds of the minority shares in Unibank as well as regulatory agencies must approve the merger. Unibank president E. Neil Jacobs said a special meeting of stockholders would be scheduled within the next few months.
A dissident group of Unibank stockholders last year thwarted an earlier plan by Equitable to buy out the minority shares in an exchange of stock - 1.1 shares of the Baltimore holding company (then trading at about $18 a share) for each share of Unibank. Equitable stock currently is trading in a range of $17 to $18 a share.
The stockholders who opposed the earlier proposal said it wasn't good enough. Jacobs said yesterday that "in light of the current market," the new offer is "excellent" but he said he is "not certain how the dissident shareholders will vote." Leaders of the dissident group could not be reached last night.