Daily News: January 14, 2019

First Citizens Bank to Acquire First South Bancorp

First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company and First South Bancorp signed a definitive merger agreement in which First South will be merged with and into First Citizens Bank in a transaction valued at approximately $37.5 million.

The agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019, subject to the receipt of regulatory and First South shareholder approvals and the satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Under the terms of the agreement, cash consideration of $1.15 per share will be paid to the shareholders of First South for each share of outstanding common stock.

As of September 30, 2018, First South reported $237 million in consolidated assets, $195 million in deposits and $173 million in gross loans.

Opened in 1996 and headquartered in Spartanburg, SC, First South Bank provides banking services in South Carolina through four branch locations in Spartanburg, East Spartanburg, Greenville and Bluffton/Hilton Head, along with a loan production office in Columbia and an operations office in Spartanburg.

Customers will continue to bank at their existing branches, which will become part of First Citizens Bank upon the completion of the merger.

Frank B. Holding Jr., chairman and CEO of First Citizens, commented, “We’re glad to announce this agreement with First South Bancorp. It’s an excellent opportunity to enhance our commitment to the people and businesses of South Carolina and to continue to expand in key markets. First Citizens Bank has an extensive and proud history in the state, and we look forward to serving our new customers pending completion of this merger.”

“We are pleased to be joining a longstanding and well-respected company like First Citizens Bank,” added Barry L. Slider, First South vice chairman, CEO and president. “We both share similar philosophies and a strong commitment to our customers. The proposed merger will allow us to continue to give a highly personalized banking experience to our clients, while providing them with an enhanced set of products and services in the months to come.”

Banks Street Partners acted as financial advisor and rendered a fairness opinion to the board of directors of First South in connection with this transaction. Ward and Smith represented First Citizens in the transaction, while Alston & Bird represented First South.

Founded in 1898 and headquartered in Raleigh, NC, First Citizens Bank serves customers at more than 550 branches in 19 states and has $35 billion in assets. It previously signed merger agreements with four community banks throughout 2018: HomeBanc, Securant Bank, Palmetto Heritage Bank and Biscayne Bank.