TSFG sale fallout: Shareholder suits likely

Within hours of The South Financial Group announcing that it would be acquired by TD Bank Financial Group for a paltry 28 cents a share at least one law firm was trying to drum up business for a potential shareholder lawsuit.

Levi & Korsinsky is investigating the board of Greenville-based South Financial for possible breaches of fiduciary duty and other violations of state law in connection with their attempt to sell the company to TD Bank Financial Group, it said in press release put out Monday morning.

The investigation concerns whether the board breached their fiduciary duties to South Financial stockholders by failing to adequately shop the company before entering into this transaction and whether TD Bank is underpaying for South Financial shares, thus unlawfully harming South Financial stockholders, Levi & Korsinksy said in a release.

“In particular, the offer price is below the $0.65 share price that South Financial stock closed at on May 14, 2010 and below the $0.99 share price that the Company’s stock traded at as recently as April 15, 2010. Also, at least one analyst set a price target for South Financial stock at $3.50 per share and the median target set by analysts is $0.88 per share,” the release added.

Levi & Korsinsky, of New York, describes itself as a firm that represents the rights of shareholders and victims of corporate abuse.  

Given that South Financial was trading for more than $30 five years ago as much as $17 a share in early 2008, you can bet you haven’t heard the last of shareholder lawsuits.

Congaree names new chief executive

Charles Kirby will take over as president and chief executive of Congaree Bancshares and Congaree State Bank on June 1. He replaces Charlie Lovering, who had handled the duties on an interim basis since Hank Ray resigned in January 2009.

Lovering will continue to serve as executive vice president and chief financial officer of both the Cayce-based bank and parent company.

Kirby started his banking career with First National Bank of SC and served in several credit administration areas. He subsequently joined Lexington State Bank in 1984, rising to executive officer and senior vice president responsible for the credit function and branch administration of the bank, according to information filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.  

After Lexington State Bank was acquired by BB&T, Kirby remained in Lexington as area executive responsible for the commercial market in Lexington, Newberry and McCormick counties. He retired from BB&T in January of 2009.

For the three months ended March 31, Congaree Bancshares lost nearly $64,000, compared to a $557,000 deficit during the same period in 2009.

Congaree is trading for $2.50 a share, well off its 52-week high of $8.

Kids today have it harder than the Pilgrims?

Andy Morriss of the University of Chicago School of Law takes umbrage with author Joe Queenan’s inane Wall Street Journal column that asserts that with the exception of youngsters born during the Great Depression, no generation in American history faces more daunting obstacles than today’s.

“Even the pasty-faced Pilgrim toddlers gamboling around Plymouth Rock in 1620 had better prospects than this one; at least the Massachusetts economy was still expanding back in the 17th century,” Queenan writes.

To which Morriss replies:

Joe Queenan’s rant on the dismal prospects of the class of 2010 makes ridiculous claim that “Even the Pilgrim toddlers in 1620 had better prospects” than today’s graduates. (“A Lament for the Class of 2010,” May 15). What nonsense. It is true that a young Pilgrim had an easy time figuring out his or her career path than the drama and music major Mr. Queenan profiles – the choices in 1620 were simple: grow food to avoid starving and chop wood to avoid freezing. The class of 1620 lived in a building of “wattle and daub” through a Massachusetts winter. Almost half the Pilgrims died that first winter. The survivors were in debt for their passage to America, probably at a level at least comparable to today’s student loan burdens. But those employed Pilgrims also had to worry about starving and freezing. They had to worry about malaria (rampant in New England then), dying from an infected tooth, getting gangrene from a cut, or contracting smallpox. Their diet was monotonous and low in calories. Their entertainment choices were limited to listening to sermons and reading the Bible. If they were comparatively well off, they might have had three complete suits of clothes. The women could look forward to a high probability of dying in childbirth. Looking forward from 1620, there were the Salem witch trials in the future, suggesting something about tolerance and due process in the colony.

Sure, today’s job climate is tough. And bright young drama and music major Ivy League graduates like Mr. Queenan’s friend may wish they’d majored in accounting or engineering instead indulging their passion for the arts at $40,000 a year. But their lives are immeasurably better than at any time in human history. Adjusted for the quality of life, even if today’s graduates make less money than their parents they are still better off because their money buys them better medical care, better housing, better cars, better entertainment, and better food than their parents bought at the same point in their lives.

(Hat tip: Cafe Hayek)