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Continued: TCF a takeover target? Maybe, but not quite yet

  • Article by: NEAL ST. ANTHONY , Star Tribune
  • Last update: December 22, 2012 - 4:32 PM

Deutsche Bank analyst Matt O'Connor released a research note last week in which he named TCF Financial Corp. a potential acquisition target.

O'Connor, who has a "buy" on TCF, called it "one of few banks with remaining leverage to credit recovery; potential acquisition target."

The one-line observation was tucked in a 40-page report on whether bank loan growth will accelerate in 2013.

The upshot: "We think a ramp-up of growth in late 2013/2014 is possible."

The target of takeover talk that pushed TCF's stock price to $28 per share in 2007, TCF was drubbed by the recession and bank regulators a couple years ago who curbed the service charges on debit cards and retail transactions that contributed heavily to TCF's profits.

"We're always for sale -- for the right price," TCF spokesman Jason Korstange said last week.

BMO, Bank of America and others have been rumored to be interested in a market dominated by Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank. CEO Bill Cooper, 69, the boss since 1985, save a brief retirement, has been working on a four-year turnaround. He said a year ago of sale speculation: "It's not time to drain the swamp when you're up to your ass in alligators."

The bank's shares are hovering around $12.30, close to their 2012 highs but far from the five-year high of $23.58 in September 2008, before the financial crisis unfolded.

Bill Frels, veteran portfolio manager of the Mairs & Power Growth Fund, which owns about 3 percent of TCF's stock, said: "Cooper's not going to sell it at these levels. If it gets up in the high teens, it's a different story. He's not getting any younger. He retired once and then came back."

JENNIFER BJORHUS AND NEAL ST. ANTHONY

NOT-FOR-PROFIT SWEEPSTAKES WINNERS

In today's business section, we chronicle the annual Star Tribune Nonprofit 100 tale of the past year from the mighty health care institutions of Minnesota to smaller charities -- including the salaries of those who run them.

We rely partly on financial statements filed with the Minnesota attorney general, typically up to nine months after the conclusion of their fiscal years.

A couple of guys who plead the case of business at the Minnesota Legislature fit comfortably in the ranks of the "top 2 percent" of income.

David Olson, the longtime head of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, was paid $393,527 in salary, bonus and benefits for year-ended Sept. 30, 2011.

Charlie Weaver of the Minnesota Business Partnership, which represents the state's 100 largest companies, grossed $1.05 million in salary, bonus, benefits and deferred compensation for the year ended Aug. 31, 2011. That includes $504,123 in a deferred compensation plan that he cashed in December 2010.

GANDER GETS GOOSED IN COURT

St. Paul-based Gander Mountain recently got nicked for $1.56 million in a breach of contract case before U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz in Minneapolis. A seven-person jury deliberated for three hours following a 3 1/2-day trial earlier this month and concluded that Gander Mountain failed to purchase an entire set of customized private-label winter gloves it ordered from Grandoe Corp. of Gloversville, N.Y.

Grandoe sued Gander Mountain after the retailer ordered $3 million worth of gloves but stopped delivery after purchasing gloves totaling $950,000.

"We focused on common sense and basic fairness," said Grandoe's attorney, Lisa Lamm Bachman of the Twin Cities law firm Fafinski Mark & Johnson. Gander did not respond to inquiries about the case last week.

DAVID PHELPS

HORNER'S CORNER

Tom Horner, a veteran business and political adviser who was a key consultant on the business pushback against the defeated anti-gay marriage amendment last November, has opened Horner Strategies. He has spent a couple years consulting after his unsuccessful bid for governor as the Independence Party candidate.

Horner said the small boutique communications firm will partner with a "network of exports" to deliver as little or as much services as needed, from senior-level consulting on an issue-by-issue basis to a full-blown communications campaign.

Horner, 62, a onetime scribe, served as chief of staff to former Republican U.S. Sen. Dave Durenberger during his first two terms, and was co-founder with John Himle of Himle Horner in 1989, now Himle Rapp & Co.

Horner's first account executive is daughter Amanda Horner, a veteran of the business communications and nonprofit trades.

COLLEGE POSSIBLE WINS INGENUITY AWARD

College Possible, a St. Paul nonprofit that makes college admission and success possible for low-income students, was awarded the Financial Times/Citi 2012 Ingenuity Award this month, besting hundreds of nominees from 40 countries.

College Possible helps students through test preparation, college application assistance, financial aid consulting and guidance while in college through graduation. In 2012 it helped 1,200 students in the Twin Cities, Milwaukee and Omaha at 35 partner high schools.

Jim McCorkell started the organization in 2000 in the spare bedroom of his St. Paul apartment. McCorkell also received the Harvard Kennedy School Alumni Achievement Award in May for his contribution to improving access to higher education.

"This is an amazing tribute, both to our supporters who have made it possible for thousands of low-income students to make their college dreams come true and to our students who challenge the odds stacked against them each and every day in their pursuit of a college degree," McCorkell said.

The organization, with revenue of $5.4 million, plans to reach 20,000 low-income students annually in 10 cities by 2020.

PATRICK KENNEDY

HOLIDAY POSTSCRIPT

I can't keep up with the messages about employees and owners who are trying to make the world a bit better place this holiday season by helping a needy person.

I chatted last week with a humble business retiree, an Army draftee who dodged death in Vietnam. He promised God one Christmas Eve at a firebase that, if he survived his combat tour, he would never have a bad day and would share any success. He has invested millions in time and treasure to better the disadvantaged.

Then there is the 91-year-old working-class widow, a lifelong volunteer who makes homemade cards for the needy and sick, uplifts the neighbors at her senior housing complex with cheery visits. She is rich in spirit and charity.

Thanks to all the bosses and workers for your generosity this season.

The witty folks at Carmichael Lynch have produced the most humorous electronic holiday card I've received. To keep the coal out of your stocking, confess to the naughtiest thing you've done this year and they'll plant a tree or otherwise offset some carbon at www.offsetyournaughty.com.

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