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Pacific Capital Bancorp Issued Delisting Warning

Nasdaq orders the company to bring its stock price above $1 per share by April 6

In another blow to an embattled South Coast firm, Nasdaq has warned Pacific Capital Bancorp to bring its stock price above $1 per share by April 6 or the bank holding company, parent of Santa Barbara Bank & Trust, may be delisted, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

On Thursday, Pacific Capital’s stock price per share ranged from 73.5 cents to 84 cents per share, and closed at 77.5 cents. It has been below $1 for most of the year, during a time when Texas billionaire banker Gerald Ford bailed out Pacific Capital by injecting $500 million in private equity into it and getting a 63 percent discount on its $180 million so-called TARP fund repayment.

Pacific Capital has shareholder approval to issue a reverse stock split soon to bring the number of outstanding shares down and push the per-share price up.

Nasdaq warns a company after its shares trade below the $1 minimum bid for more than a month.

“Nasdaq’s rules require that stocks that list on their board maintain a minimum bid price of $1 per share,” Pacific Capital spokeswoman Debbie Whiteley said. “When a company’s stock trades below $1 for 30 business consecutive days, that company receives a letter from Nasdaq informing them that they have 180 days to get back in compliance with Nasdaq listing rules.”

Whiteley said a company that receives this notification from Nasdaq is required to disclose this information.

“If at any time during the 180 days, the company’s stock closes at $1 per share or more for a minimum of 10 consecutive business days, we will receive written confirmation from Nasdaq that the matter is closed,” she said.

The Ford deal in August boosted Pacific Capital’s sagging capital ratios, but cut the number of shareholders since Ford’s company acquired 86 percent of the company.

“In our (SEC) 8K filing, we also noted our intent to effect a reverse stock split in the near future for the primary purpose of increasing the market price of the stock and making it more attractive to a broader range of investors,” Whiteley said.

Noozhawk business writer Ray Estrada can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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