First Federal asks investors to approve name change amid private placement

Harrison-based First Federal Bancshares recently outlined the terms of a pending name change to Bear State Financial and a private placement totaling $20 million, if approved by shareholders during a special meeting on March 5.

The terms were made public in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday (Jan. 10).

The meeting was called to give shareholders an opportunity to vote on the bank’s acquisition of First National Security Co. of Hot Springs — a $151 million deal announced in July.

Also proposed is a private placement involving the sale of 2.5 million shares to Bear State Financial Holdings — the largest shareholder of First National Bancshares. The value of this private placement is $20 million and would also result in a name change to Bear State Financial trading under ticker symbol (NASDAQ:BSF), according to the filing.

The proceeds of the private placement will be used to fund a portion of the cash paid to First National Security shareholder and raise additional capital.

Bear State Financial Holdings controls more than 15.6 million shares, roughly 78% of First Federal's outstanding shares.

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Shareholders will also consider the authorization of an additional 70 million shares to accommodate the private placement and acquisition of First National Security.

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