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First California nets $39 million in stock sale

By   /   Wednesday, March 24th, 2010  /   Comments Off on First California nets $39 million in stock sale

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Westlake Village-based First California Financial Group, parent of First California Bank, closed a public stock offering March 24 that netted it about $39 million.

The bank, which has about $1.5 billion in assets and seven branches in the Tri-Counties, sold 16.56 million shares at $2.50 each for a total of about $41.4 million. Chief Executive Officer C.G. Kum told the Business Times the bank expected to net about $39 million in the deal.

Major investors were First California’s biggest institutional shareholders: Banc Funds Co., Wellington Management Co. and Och-Ziff Capital Management. The offering generated more than the expected $36 million because Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, the investment bank that underwrote the offering, picked up an option to buy 2.1 million extra shares to cover over-allotments.

First California plans to use the money to strengthen its existing branches and potentially buy up another bank, either outright or with the help of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Last year, First California snapped up $270 million in deposits from failed 1st Centennial Bank, along with some of its better loans, for $48 million from the FDIC.

First California has a total of 17 branches in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura counties.

First California’s shares closed up nearly 3 percent at $2.80 on March 24. The deal was announced after the markets closed.

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