Basswood Capital Reports Activist Position in Astoria Financial Corp (AF)

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Matthew Lindenbaum’s Basswood Capital Management has reported an activist position in Astoria Financial Corp (NYSE:AF) with a recent 13D filing. According to the 13D filing, the investment advisory now owns 9.22% of the common shares or 9.29 million shares of the financial company against its prior ownership of 1.17 million shares reported in its latest 13F filing. According to the investment manager, the shares of Astoria Financial Corp (NYSE:AF) are “trading at a significant discount to their fair value.” Basswood Capital further mentioned that the stock “has substantial opportunities in the current environment to take steps to enhance shareholder value, either on a stand-alone basis or in a business combination or sale transaction…” Mr. Lindenbaum further asked Astoria Financial Corp (NYSE:AF) to include one of its representatives on the board of the directors. Astoria Financial didn’t provide any response to the request of the investment firm.

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Basswood Capital Management follows a value oriented and event driven approach in its investment strategies. The firm relies on fundamental analysis to analyze the true value of a stock and make an investment accordingly. It has a decent exposure in global public equity and fixed income markets. The investment firm had an equity portfolio of $2.10 billion as of its latest 13F with its primary investments in the finance sector. Synovus Financial Corp. (NYSE:SNV), Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC), and Belden Inc. (NYSE:BDC) are the top three equity investments of the investment firm. Its top 10 stock holdings accounted for 28.63% of its overall portfolio value as reported in the last 13F filed by the company.

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Astoria Financial Corp (NYSE:AF) works as the loan holding company for Astoria Bank, which is involved in attracting and investing retail deposits for its clients. Astoria Financial Corp (NYSE:AF) reported its second quarter 2015 financial results on July 22 beating the markets’ earnings and revenue expectations. The financial company announced diluted earnings per share of $0.29 for the quarter against $0.20 a year ago.

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