Bank merger
still alive

Central Pacific said it will
pursue a hostile takeover
attempt of City Bank's
parent for another week

Central Pacific Financial Corp.'s unsolicited takeover attempt of City Bank's parent still may have some life left in it after all.

With the final hours ticking down yesterday on a take-it-or-leave-it merger offer, Central Pacific issued a terse news release last night announcing that it would pursue the acquisition for another week and that its first-quarter earnings scheduled for release this morning would be postponed.

Until the announcement, Central Pacific Bank's parent repeatedly had declined to comment throughout the day while CB Bancshares Inc. only would say there was no news to report.

The reluctance of the two sides to provide information might indicate that the banks, which have been at odds over the hostile takeover attempt for exactly a year, finally have entered some type of discussions.

Central Pacific Bank, the state's fourth-largest bank, has said that acquiring CB Bancshares, the fifth-largest bank, would form a strong No. 4 financial institution.

Central Pacific spokesman Ann Takiguchi said she could not say anything more than what was in the bank's statement and would not comment about whether the banks are in talks.

The extension of the deadline gives the banks a short window to reach a deal before facing possible interrogations from their respective shareholders. Central Pacific's annual meeting is set for April 27 while CB Bancshares' meeting is scheduled two days later.

Central Pacific, which has dangled three offers in front of CB Bancshares over the past 12 months, made its latest proposal on March 15 when it offered $400 million, or $87.26 for each CB Bancshares share. The cash-and-stock offer represented $22.27 in cash and 2.4 shares of Central Pacific stock for each share of CB Bancshares stock.

Investors, however, generally have reacted skeptically since the offer was made because of CB Bancshares' reluctance over the past year to negotiate with its Honolulu rival. CB Bancshares' stock mostly has fallen over the last several trading days and dropped $2.79 yesterday to $67.21 -- 23 percent below the offer price. CB Bancshares' stock was trading at a split-adjusted $42.16 when Central Pacific made its initial offer on April 16, 2003.

As of yesterday's market close, Central Pacific's offer was valued at $386 million, or $86.95 for each share of CB Bancshares stock.


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