RUMSON-FAIR HAVEN BANK TO BE ACQUIRED

The bank’s five branches, including the one on Broad Street in Shrewsbury, above, will be rebranded as 1st Constitution. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Little more than a year after an internal power struggle, five-branch banking indie Rumson-Fair Haven Bank & Trust has agreed to be acquired by a Middlesex County lender, the two companies announced Friday.

The buyer is 1st Constitution Bancorp, a Nasdaq-traded entity that will pay RFHBT shareholders $7.50 per share, or 0.7772 of a share of 1st Constitution common stock, in a deal valued at $24.3 million, the two company’s said in a press release.

RFHB&T was the subject of a control battle waged in 2012 by Rumson resident, horseman and hedge fund honcho George Hall, of the investment firm Clinton Group. He won in his effort to remove William Barrett as chairman after an independent judge finalized the results of the bank’s annual shareholder vote. Hall replaced Barrett on the board.

The bank has branches in Rumson, Fair Haven, Shrewsbury, Oceanport and Asbury Park. It has $214 million in assets, $133 million in loans, and $185 million in deposits. After completion of the deal, expected in the first quarter of 2014, the combined entity is expected to have about $1 billion in assets, $532 million in loans, and $900 million in deposits, with 19 branch across central New Jersey, the banks reported.