A South Carolina bank that has been bulking up by buying failed banks has struck its first open-bank acquisition in more than three years.
SCBT Financial Corp. in Columbia, S.C., announced Tuesday morning that it is buying the $546 million-asset Peoples Bancorporation Inc. in Easley, S.C., for $28 million in stock. The in-market deal would create a $4.5 billion-asset company with nearly 80 branches in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia, including 28 branches along the bustling Interstate 85 corridor that connects Charlotte and Atlanta.
In a news release, SCBT President and Chief Executive Robert R. Hill Jr. said that the two companies have been friendly competitors for many years and have similar cultures. "This a natural partnership and one that will serve our customers, employees and shareholders very well," he said.
SCBT has roughly doubled its assets over the last three years, to nearly $4 billion, thanks largely to its acquisitions of three failed banks. Prior to that, the company was an active acquirer of open banks, buying three banks in the Carolinas between 2006 and 2008.
Peoples is the holding company for three small banks with a combined eight branches.
L. Andrew Westbrook 3rd, its president and CEO, said that, in terms of merger partners, Peoples could not have found a "better fit" than SCBT.
"Several factors were considered on behalf of our shareholders in making this important decision, including the opportunity our shareholders will have to benefit from the future growth of this dynamic company," he said.
The sale is expected to close in the second quarter.