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Bay View Hires Merrill Lynch to Assist in Sale of Its Businesses

May 31, 2000|From Bloomberg News

Bay View Capital Corp., a thrift with 58 branches in the San Francisco Bay Area, said it has hired Merrill Lynch & Co. to help sell some or all of its businesses after its stock lost half of its value in the last year.

Bay View, with assets of $6.4 billion and $1.7 billion in deposits, owns Bay View Bank, Bay View Acceptance Corp., Money Care Inc., Bay View Commercial Finance Group, FMAC and Bankers Mutual. The company trades at 0.5 times its book value, while most of its rivals trade at 1.89 times book, according to Bloomberg Analytics.

"Our common stock continues to trade below tangible book value and does not reflect the intrinsic value associated with our underlying franchise," Edward Sondker, Bay View Capital's president and chief executive, said in a statement. "We intend to evaluate strategies to capture and return this value to our stockholders."

Bay View, which makes 44% of its earnings from commercial banking, has twice warned of lower earnings since December. First-quarter profit dropped to $500,000, or 2 cents a share, from $7.1 million, or 37 cents a share, a year earlier.

In April, David A. Heaberlin, Bay View Bank's president and chief operating officer, resigned. He had joined as chief financial officer, becoming COO in April 1997 and president in July.

Shares of San Mateo-based Bay View jumped 16%, or $1.31, to close at $9.50 on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares had touched a four-year low on April 20 of $6.56. Before Tuesday's announcement, the stock had fallen 52% in the last 12 months. It traded as high as $20.75 in July.

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