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BB&T purchase awaits final go-ahead from officials

The BB&T Corporation bid to buy privately-held First Citizens Bancorp in a $142.6 million transaction is awaiting final approval from regulatory officials and shareholders.

This acquisition would strengthen BB&Ts presence in East Tennessee, including the fast-growing Interstate 75 corridor between Knoxville and Chattanooga.

With $686 million in assets, Cleveland-based First Citizens Bancorp is the fourth largest bank in East Tennessee. Founded in 1974, it operates 16 full-service banking centers in Tennessee, two in North Carolina and one in Georgia through banking subsidiaries the Bank/First Citizens of Cleveland; the Home Bank of Tennessee of Maryville; and the Home Bank of Ducktown.

the Homebank of Tennessee has an office in the Turkey Creek Development on Parkside Drive.

First Citizens shareholders can elect to receive either 1.30 shares of BB&T stock for each of their shares or a cash option. The cash amount would be BB&Ts average share price for a five-day period prior to closing multiplied by 1.30 (limited to 25 percent of First Citizens shares outstanding at closing. If that percentage is exceeded, a portion would be converted to stock.)

Approved by the directors of both companies, the transaction is valued at $54.52 per First Citizens share based on the stock swap option and BB&Ts closing price of $41.94.

The merger, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, is expected to be completed in the second quarter.

This merger accelerates our long-term earnings growth potential by expanding our Tennessee market, said BB&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Allison. It will allow us to extend our growing Knoxville-based presence toward Chattanooga and on to our existing North Georgia franchise.

The merger would bump BB&T from ninth to seventh in deposit market share in Tennessee and from fifth to fourth in East Tennessee. BB&T would jump from eighth to first in deposit market share in the Cleveland metropolitan statistical area. More than 145 manufacturers are located in Cleveland-Bradley County alone, along with major employers in health care, financial services, retail and education.

Knoxville is the 14th best city in the nation for business relocation or expansion and Chattanooga is among the top 50, according to Expansion Management magazine. First Citizens customers will be introduced to BB&Ts strong branch-based sales culture and its broad product and services line, including insurance, mutual funds, trust, online banking, annuities, investment banking, retail brokerage, treasury services, leasing and international banking.

For some time now, weve had a clear-cut goal of becoming the leading community bank in the markets we serve, said Kenneth Rayborn, president and CEO.


Citizens Bancorp.

BB&T divides its 11-state banking network into autonomous regions .


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