June 26 - Home BancShares Inc. (Nasdaq: HOMB), parent company of Centennial Bank in Conway, Ark., and Liberty Bancshares Inc., parent company of Liberty Bank of Arkansas, Jonesboro, have announced the signing of a definitive agreement for Liberty to merge into Home. Under the terms of the agreement, shareholders of Liberty will receive $250 million of Home common stock plus $30 million in cash.
On completion of the transaction, the combined company will have approximately $7.1 billion in total assets, $5.6 billion in deposits, $4.5 billion in loans, 151 branches, 186 ATMs, and 1,500 employees across Arkansas, Florida and southern Alabama. The merger will significantly increase the company's deposit market share in Arkansas making it the 2nd largest bank holding company headquartered in Arkansas.
"It's exciting to be a part of the largest in-state banking transaction in the history of Arkansas. This combination will double the number of Arkansas branches for Centennial Bank from 46 to 92 locations. Centennial's strength is in central and north central Arkansas, while Liberty's presence is in northeast, northwest and western Arkansas. The association of Liberty with Centennial is the perfect fit to provide more convenient locations to our Arkansas customers," said Randy Sims, Home's CEO.
The acquisition is expected to close late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of 2013 and is subject to Home and Liberty shareholder approval, regulatory approval and other conditions set forth in the merger agreement. Pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement, Liberty Bank will merge with and into Centennial Bank immediately after the merger of Liberty with and into Home. Subject to the receipt of requisite approvals, Home expects to repurchase all of Liberty's Small Business Lending Fund preferred stock held by the U.S. Treasury shortly after the closing.
"The merger of two similarly sized Arkansas-based companies with comparable cultures and history with only two overlapping markets creates a prestigious banking franchise in Arkansas," said John Allison, chairman of Home. "Wallace and I have been friends for a very long time. The addition of Liberty is truly a game-changer for Home BancShares."
"This association with my longtime friend John Allison is important for many reasons; first and foremost, Home BancShares is another outstanding Arkansas-based company with similar operating philosophies as Liberty," said Wallace Fowler, chairman of Liberty. "We are extremely excited about the combination of these two outstanding financial institutions."