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Astoria Financial Corporation: Sale At Current Price Would Be Great For Shareholders

An article appearing last Tuesday on americanbanker.com labeled Lake Success, NY-based thrift Astoria Financial Corporation (NYSE:AF) a potential takeover target. Sandler O'Neill & Partners equity analyst Mark Fitzgibbon thinks that AF's current share price is below the franchise's true value, given the attractiveness of AF's geographic footprint and other factors. As of Monday's close, AF was trading at 0.72x stated book value per share and 0.84x tangible book value per share. Fitzgibbon thinks several banks might find AF attractive, including BankUnited, Inc. (NYSE:BKU), M&T Bank Corporation (NYSE:MTB), People's United Financial, Inc. (NASDAQ:PBCT) and Toronto-Dominion Bank (NYSE:TD).

I assume Fitzgibbon thinks that because AF's valuation is depressed, a buyer could pay...

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