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Two bidders will vie for 1st Mariner Bank

1st Mariner Bank, Baltimore's largest independent bank, will go to auction Thursday morning with two bidders vying for the bank.

Parent company First Mariner Bancorp is selling the bank as part of the parent's Chapter 11 bankruptcy, filed Feb. 10. The bank's deposits, loans, contracts and other business will not be affected as the bank is not included in the bankruptcy.

A court filing Wednesday said the bank has received one bid, which was not identified, in addition to the previously disclosed bid by a group of investors led by New York investment firm Priam Capital.

"More than one qualified bid has been received by the bid deadline," according to the filing, which paves the way for the auction under the court-approved procedures.

Priam has made the only publicly known bid, for just under $4.8 million. It also would recapitalize the bank with $80 million to $100 million.

Attorneys for the bank and for creditors could not be reached Wednesday. First Mariner's bankruptcy capped a years long struggle to recover after residential loans soured during the housing bust.

After Thursday's auction, which is closed to the public, the bank is required to identify the successful bidder in a court filing within one business day. The winning bidder will require court approval at a hearing April 14.

Priam has acted as the "stalking-horse bidder," and would have been considered the successful bidder if no others made offers.

Shares of First Mariner have continued to trade and were down more than 12 percent Wednesday to just over 3 cents a share in over-the-counter trading.

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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