BB&T to Bulk Up in Florida with Deal to Buy BankAtlantic

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Embattled BankAtlantic Bank in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., has given up its fight to remain independent.

The thrift's parent, BankAtlantic Bancorp Inc., announced early Tuesday that it has struck a deal to sell the $3.8 billion-asset BankAtlantic Bank to BB&T Corp. for about $301 million, plus the net asset value of the thrift at the time the sale closes. The price represents a 9.05% premium on BankAtlantic's deposits as of Sept. 30.

The sale would end BankAtlantic's effort to remain independent despite losing hundreds of millions of dollars over the past four years in the wake of Florida's real estate crash. Various efforts to raise capital have fallen short and earlier this year its net equity fell below zero. Last month, the parent company also completed a one-for-five reverse stock split aimed at boosting its sagging shares, which had been trading at under $1 for much of the year.

For the $168 billion-asset BB&T, the acquisition would be its first since it acquired the failed Colonial Bank of Montgomery, Ala., in 2009. With the deal, the Winston Salem, N.C., company would gain roughly $2.1 billion of loans, $3.3 billion of deposits, and nearly 80 branches, most of which are in South Florida. The deal does not include roughly $400 million of problem assets, which will be distributed to BankAtlantic Bancorp.

BankAtlantic said that the deal price could increase or decrease based on the average closing balance of deposits in the days leading up to the closing, which is likely to be early next year.

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