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Lawsuit seeks to stop First Bancorp/ASB Bancorp deal

A shareholder of Asheville, N.C.-based ASB Bancorp Inc. is leading a class action suit against the company, its directors and Southern Pines, N.C.-based First Bancorp over the two institutions' pending deal.

According to a court document, Paul Parshall leads the class action, which names the two companies as well as ASB Bancorp's President, CEO and Director Suzanne DeFerie, Chairman Patricia Smith, Vice Chairman John Gould, and directors John Dickson, Leslie Green, Kenneth Hornowski, Stephen Miller, Lawrence Seidman, Alison Smith, Wyatt Stevens and Kenneth Wrench as defendants.

The lawsuit called the registration statement filed related to the transaction "false and misleading" due to alleged omissions of material information. The suit also claims that the terms of the merger agreement are substantially in favor of First Bancorp and "calculated to unreasonably dissuade potential suitors from making competing offers." The suit seeks, among other things, to prevent the closing of the transaction or a rescission of the deal — along with rescissory damages — if already consummated, as well as case-related costs and attorneys' fees, along with further relief.