Daily News: May 3, 2013

Sterling Financial to Acquire Commerce National Bank

Sterling Financial and Commerce National Bank (CNB) announced that Sterling and its principal operating subsidiary, Sterling Savings Bank, have entered into a definitive agreement to acquire CNB for cash consideration of $15.10 per common share. Including the planned redemption of outstanding CNB stock options and warrants for cash, the aggregate transaction value is approximately $42.9 million.

The transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of the company and CNB, will provide a significant enhancement to Sterling’s current operations in southern California. The transaction is subject to approval by CNB shareholders and bank regulatory agencies, and other customary conditions of closing. It is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2013.

“Commerce National Bank is a solid, business-focused bank that we expect will provide substantial synergies with our current operations in the Orange County market,” said David DePillo, vice chairman and chief lending officer of Sterling. “In addition to a high quality, relationship-based loan portfolio, CNB also brings us a scalable equipment leasing business that fills a void in our current commercial product set.”

Mark Simmons, president and CEO of CNB, said, “We are excited to be entering into this transaction with Sterling. This is an excellent outcome for our shareholders, and we believe our customers, employees, and community will benefit from the wide array of products and services offered by the combined company. We are partnering with a company that shares our values and outlook on the opportunities in this environment, and we look forward to continuing to serve our clients the best way we can.”

Bingham McCutchen served as the legal advisor to the Company and Richard E. Knecht served in the same capacity for CNB. Keefe Bruyette & Woods, a Stifel Company, served as the financial advisor to CNB.

Spokane, WA-based Sterling Financial is the bank holding company for Sterling Savings Bank, which offers banking products and services, mortgage lending and trust and investment products to individuals, small businesses, corporations and other commercial organizations.

CNB of Newport Beach, CA, is a nationally chartered and federally insured commercial bank that specializes in business banking, including SBA and equipment leasing.