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Activist investor suggests Seacoast Banking sell

SeacoastBanking Corp. of Florida is under pressure from another activistshareholder — this time to sell.

CapGen LP, the firm run by former Comptroller of theCurrency Eugene Ludwig, sent a letter to the bank's board on May 10. The lettersuggests that Seacoast should explore strategic alternatives in light offinancial results that should have been, but were not, itsacquisitions. CapGenalso criticized the use of the plurality voting method, as well as the board's"founder mentality" and "excessive compensation." Remindingthe board that its cash injection in 2009 "enabled [Seacoast] to survivedespite crippling losses" and that the investor group's stake "isalmost seven times the combined ownership of all members of the board andmanagement," CapGen proposed "a thorough overhaul" of governanceand board structure.

In addition to Ludwig, the investor group includes RobertGoldstein, John Rose and John Sullivan. The group beneficially owns 7,528,563shares or a 19.9% stake, and, according to an amended ownership filing, hasalso declared it would withhold its vote at the annual meeting in connectionwith the company's proposed slate of directors.

In March, Seacoast granted another activist shareholdernonvoting observerstatus at its board meetings.