FirstMerit Continues its Acqusitions with Citizens Republic Bancorp
The transaction expands FirstMerit's reach into Michigan and Wisconsin. The combined company will have $24 billion in assets, 415 branches, 452 ATMs and more than 5,000 employees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.
FirstMerit, which acquired FirstBanks in May 2010, has been actively looking to acquire other banks since then. "FirstMerit enters our new markets as one of the country's strongest and most stable banks” said FirstMerit CEO Paul Greig. “We look forward to serving our new customers and working with our new colleagues as members of the FirstMerit family."
FirstMerit acquired 24 Chicago-area branches ifrom First Bank of St. Louis in late 2009 and four branches of the failed George Washington Savings Bank in a deal assisted by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Greig said the Chicago moves were just the start of a wider Midwestern expansion strategy.
"We're looking to grow, we're looking at acquisition opportunities, "Greig said in an American Banker article in 2010.
FirstMerit's philosophy is to focus on markets that it knows and avoids spreading itself too thin. It seeks growth through acquisitions without having to scatter themselves through too many areas said Greig in Crains Cleveland Business. He said further that FirstMerit continues to look at expansion "opportunistically,” saying it is "far and away" the best way to provide growth for shareholders.
Citizens' shareholders will receive 1.37 shares of FirstMerit common in exchange for each share of Citizens stock. Based on FirstMerit's ten-day closing stock price ended September 12, 2012, the value of a Citizens' share would be about $22.50.
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