November 6, 2018 / 5:20 PM / 11 days ago

Investors Bancorp exploring possible sale: WSJ

(Reuters) - U.S. regional bank Investors Bancorp Inc (ISBC.O) has hired deal adviser Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc., to find a potential buyer, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Shares of Investors Bancorp rose as much as 9.4 percent to $12.45 on Tuesday, after news of the possible sale.

The bank, which has about 150 branches in New Jersey and New York, had a market capitalization of $3.39 billion as of Monday’s close.

Investors Bancorp was not immediately available for a comment, while KBW declined to comment.

A possible sale would add to a series of mergers among small banks as they look to compete with big banks.

In May, U.S. regional bank Fifth Third Bancorp (FITB.O) agreed to buy smaller rival MB Financial Inc (MBFI.O) in a deal valued at about $4.7 billion. (reut.rs/2D7isSD)

Reporting by Bharath Manjesh in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel

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