Freedman Comments on Activist Situation at Banc of California
The Orange County Register published an article about the dissatisfaction of activist investors at Banc of California. PL Capital LLC issued a letter detailing a list of concerns about Banc of California's corporate governance and CEO compensation. Less than a week later, the bank filed a lawsuit against hedge fund Basswood Capital Management LLC, claiming it had teamed up with PL Capital, broken a nondisclosure agreement, bought up shares through other means, violating SEC rules, then leveraged its new shareholder status to "foment discontent" among other investors. PL Capital denies the allegation. Among activist attorneys asked to comment on the matter was Olshan Partner Andrew Freedman, who said, “There's no doubt in my mind that the filing by PL was the straw that broke the camel's back." The lawsuit is a "move to deflect the criticism of the company and paint the shareholders as the bad actors ... one way to immunize against any further future hostilities and try to get ahead of it."