A Case of a Circus Cleaning Up Its Act
I foresee book value growing to over $5 per share by 2019 and stock trading at 125% of that, nearly double today's price. If 74-years young Chairman Merlin Zitzner were to sell the bank, shareholders could enjoy this performance even sooner. Given that he owns 47% of the stock, Merlin certainly has both the power and incentive to do so.
Disclosure: As of this posting, I own shares of BAOB and may subsequently either dispose of them or purchase more.
Knowing that Baraboo National holds more than half the deposits in Baraboo, Wisconsin, any of these higher-performing, better-capitalized banks could be in line to buy Merlin's show.
Bank of Montreal, Toronto, Canada (BMO)
Bank of Prairie du Sac, Prairie du Sac, WI (private)
Bank of Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin Dells, WI (private)
National Exchange Bank & Trust, Fond du Lac, WI (private)
†as of 9/30/2016
The Bank received $20.7M in TARP 01/16/2009
The Government auctioned it all off 12/03/2012
The Bank redeemed all but $5.1M on 01/05/2017
Merlin Zitzner, Chairman, President, Treasurer
Greg Linder, VP and Secretary
Jeff P. Blada, "acting" CEO, COO
Baraboo National Bank has weathered many challenges since its founding in 1857 — including both the Civil War and the Great Depression. It's probably safe to say, now, that it has survived the Great Recession, too, in spite of a 16-year sideshow that cost the bank over half its assets.
That clumsy act in the bank's history began in 1999 when ringmaster Merlin Zitzner appears to have fallen under the spell of two ding-a-ling lenders, who proceeded to spend the next six years making unsafe, unsound, and self-dealing loans. That stunt left Baraboo National teetering on a tightrope before the Great Recession even came to town.
Backstage, Merlin has a few more tricks up his sleeve that may be less visible to the average investor: