Activist Pushes for BNCCorp. to Sell

Value investor Rangeley Capital LLC is calling for one of the companies it has a 6% stake in to sell.

The company's partner Chris DeMuth Jr. issued a letter Monday, Oct. 31, urging BNCCORP (BNCC) , the holding company of BNC National Bank, to sell.

"While we believe the likely outcome of any strategic evaluation would be the sale of BNCC to a strategic buyer for a significant premium, we remain open to any outcome provided all options are explored with a goal of maximizing long-term shareholder value," DeMuth wrote in his letter.

Demuth said that BNC could fetch a purchase price of $35 per share, or $115 million based on shares outstanding. He said by phone that while Rangeley has potential buyers in mind for BNC, he could not share them with the public.

Perhaps Toronto-Dominion Bank would make sense as a buyer. The company has previously expressed interest in community banks, and BNC's location - Bismarck, N.D., could be an attractive way for TD to expand.

According to DeMuth, BNC has done well for itself in the current low interest rate regulatory environment. However, this environment is threatened, with a potential rate hike likely coming before the year's end.

DeMuth said by phone that if interest rates rise, it would be an opportune time for BNC to sell itself. The company has some "operational inefficiencies" DeMuth wrote, that it needs to address.

BNC has yet to issue a public response, and its marketing team could not be reached by phone for comment Tuesday.

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