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Pacific Premier buying Heritage Oaks for $405.6M; Highland Capital sues investor

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Pacific Premier buying Heritage Oaks for $405.6M; Highland Capital sues investor

In California, Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc. is buying Heritage Oaks Bancorp under an all-stock deal valued at $11.68 per share, or approximately $405.6 million. The deal's terms will see each Heritage Oaks common share exchanged for 0.3471 of a Pacific Premier common share, an arrangement that gives Heritage Oaks shareholders a 30.1% stake in the resulting entity.

In the asset management scene, one defendant has turned plaintiff. James Dondero and Mark Okada's Highland Capital Management LP is suing Muirfield Capital Management's Geoffrey Stern, Bloomberg News reports, over allegedly defamatory statements that subjected the firm to "public hatred, ridicule and disgrace." Highland's complaint stems from a Wall Street Journal article in October about an investor lawsuit. The article quotes Stern, Muirfield's president, as saying, "Just when you think you've seen it all, Jim Dondero comes up with a new twist. They just took our money." The WSJ also included a statement by OmniQuest Capital LLC CEO Eloise Yellen Clark, who said, "Every other fund manager I had did the right thing in the crisis. It is my opinion that Highland did not."

Meanwhile, Aspiriant of Los Angeles is buying Stanford Investment Group Inc. That purchase, on top of Aspiriant's other recent deals, brings its total assets added through M&A to $1.7 billion over the past year.

The fintech sphere also carries M&A news: Fiserv Inc. is acquiring Atlanta-based Online Banking Solutions Inc.

ApplePie Capital Inc. has been busy, entering into a $180 million loan purchase agreement with TowerBrook Capital Partners LP and raising $16.5 million through a QED Investors LLC- and Fifth Third Capital-led funding round. The online lender, which focuses on loans to the franchise industry, also has a new strategic adviser in Tim Morris, former chief risk officer of GE Cap Franchise Finance Corp.

Elsewhere in specialty lending, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions shared its views on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In a letter to lawmakers, posted yesterday by CUinsight.com, NAFCU said housing finance reform could include the combination of Fannie and Freddie, but not their full privatization at this time.

Late Friday, the U.S. Department of Education awarded contracts for defaulted federal student debt collection. InsideARM.com remarks the announcement is notable not only because of who won the contract (such as GC Services Limited Partnership and Transworld Systems Inc.), but because of who didn't. Among the latter was Navient Corp.'s Pioneer Credit Recovery Inc. — a distinction that, according to Bloomberg, means the greater likelihood of Navient getting "frozen out of the federal student loan system."

The SEC has accepted State Street Bank and Trust Co.'s offer to settle claims it had misled clients with hidden markups to its foreign currency exchange trades. Comprising the amount is a civil money penalty of $75.0 million, disgorgement of $75.0 million and prejudgment interest of $17.4 million.

More in banking news:

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled you don't have to target a bank or cause bank losses to have committed bank fraud.

Barclays Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. are helping the U.S. government compile evidence for what could be another case of collusion in the currency spot market, Bloomberg reports, citing court filings. The three are scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 15 for currency manipulation, and their cooperation could lower their penalties — to $650 million from $1.2 billion for Barclays, to $550 million from $846 million for JPMorgan, and to $925 million from $1.4 billion for Citi.

And the WSJ has an op-ed piece about Dodd-Frank's new defenders — the banks themselves. After all, writes the paper, big banks know regulatory costs mean only the biggest will survive, and small banks know regulations can be used against the fintech firms encroaching on their turf.

In other parts of the world

Asia-Pacific: Indonesia, Japan extend currency swap; Philippines-EU free trade talks delayed

Europe: UniCredit maps out capital-raising plan; UK further cuts Lloyds stake

Middle East & Africa: Zimbabwe cuts withdrawal charges; Japanese bank to open Saudi branch

The day ahead

Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. market.

In Asia, the Hang Seng rose 0.06% to 22,446.70, while the Nikkei 225 lifted 0.50% to 19,250.52.

In Europe, around midday, the FTSE 100 climbed 0.35% to 6,914.51, and the Euronext 100 was up 0.75% to 920.13.

On the macro front

The NFIB small business optimism index, the import and export prices report, and the Redbook are due out today.

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