Barnett Banks Inc. has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Oxford Resources Corp., an automobile leasing company, for about $570 million in stock.
Oxford Resources, Melville, N.Y., provides loans and leases through more than 2,000 auto dealers in 21 states. Last year, the company's total lease and loan originations were about $1 billion.
"This acquisition is a significant step toward enhancing Barnett's automobile finance business, which is already one of our strengths," said Charles E. Rice, Barnett's chairman and chief executive, in a statement.
Barnett, headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., originates 25% of all automobile loans in its home state, and it is ranked among the top 10 auto lenders nationally.
Oxford shareholders are slated to receive 0.9085 shares of Barnett common stock for each share of Oxford. Oxford has also granted Barnett an option to purchase up to 19.9% of Oxford's outstanding shares. The transaction, subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close by mid year.