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Acquisition Of ConnectOne Bancorp, Inc. By Center Bancorp, Inc. May Not Be In Shareholders' Best Interests

Stocks in this article: CNBC CNOB

SAN DIEGO and ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Jan. 22, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Shareholder rights attorneys at Robbins Arroyo LLP are investigating the acquisition of ConnectOne Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNOB) by Center Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ: CNBC).  On January 21, 2014, the two companies announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which Center Bancorp will acquire ConnectOne through a stock-for-stock transaction under which ConnectOne shareholders will receive 2.6 shares of Center Bancorp common stock for each share of ConnectOne stock. Based on ConnectOne's stock price on January 21, 2014, ConnectOne shareholders will receive the equivalent of $45.60 per share. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130103/MM36754LOGO)

Is the Proposed Merger Best for ConnectOne and Its Shareholders?

Robbins Arroyo LLP's investigation focuses on whether the board of directors at ConnectOne is undertaking a fair process to obtain maximum value and adequately compensate ConnectOne shareholders in the merger.

As an initial matter, the $45.60 consideration represents a one day premium of only 14.5% based on ConnectOne's closing price on January 17, 2014. This one day premium is substantially below the average one day premium of nearly 30% for comparable transactions in the last three years.  Further, on January 21, 2014, ConnectOne released its earnings for the fourth quarter 2013. For both the quarter and full year 2013 net income available to common stockholders increased 23.8% to $2.9 million and 27.3% to $10.3 million respectively.

Given these facts, Robbins Arroyo LLP is examining the ConnectOne board of directors' decision to sell the company to Center Bancorp now rather than allow shareholders to continue to participate in the company's continued success and future growth prospects. 

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