Anchor Bancorp shares sink as it explores strategic options

April 5 Mon Apr 5, 2010 11:04am EDT

April 5 (Reuters) - Shares of Anchor BanCorp Wisconsin Inc ABCW.O sank as much as 33 percent Monday after the capital-starved lender said on Friday it was exploring strategic alternatives, including a potential sale, and ended a deal with Badger Holdings for a prospective investment.

The loss-making lender also said it engaged SandlerO'Neill Partners LP as financial advisor to assist the company in evaluating strategic alternative.

The Madison, Wisconsin-based company said it and Badger Anchor Holdings LLC agreed to terminate their agreement which had granted the investor exclusivity through March 31 with respect to negotiating an investment in Anchor.

"The complexity of the transaction led to challenges in completing the agreement prior to the March 31, 2010 date," Anchor Chief Executive Chris Bauer said in a statement.

The company said strategic alternatives include recapitalization, merger of the company, sale of additional branches and other capital-raising alternatives.

In December, Anchor said Badger Holdings, led by investment banker Steven Hovde, would infuse $400 million into the company, on condition that the U.S. Treasury converts the preferred stock and warrants into common shares. Shares of the company were down 28 percent at $0.83 in morning on Nasdaq. They touched a low of $0.76 earlier in the session. (Reporting by Abhinav Sharma in Bangalore; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier)

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