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Rockett, Wittlin Discuss Blank-Check Deal Deadlines

American Banker, Nov. 17, 2009 — Despite having a Nov. 27 deadline by which to complete a deal or dissolve itself, Western Liberty Bancorp recently managed to convince its shareholders to eliminate the deadline. Following this rare twist, which prevented yet another blank-check deal from falling apart, Western Liberty now intends to acquire a small bank and build it, partly by rolling up failed institutions, reports American Banker. Partner Floyd Wittlin, who has worked with blank-check companies in the past, said this is the first time he has seen one drop a deadline entirely, rather than simply extend it. He noted that although extensions are uncommon, more blank-check companies could see these as an attractive option in the coming months, especially if they decide to target the banking sector, where an acquisition can take six months or more to get regulatory approval. Partner Jim Rockett believes that having a deal pending likely gave the Western Liberty shareholders the confidence to dissolve the deadline. “It is going to be a lot easier to convince people to extend when there is a tangible transaction available,” he said.
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