Business First Bancshares in Baton Rouge, La., has agreed to buy Minden Bancorp in Louisiana for roughly $76.1 million.

The $1.2 billion-asset Business First also announced Friday it will raise $66 million by selling 3.3 million shares of common stock at $20 per share through a private placement. The proceeds will be used to help pay for the Minden transaction, keep the combined institution capitalized and for other corporate purposes, Business First said.

Jude Melville, president and CEO of Business First.
"This partnership, in conjunction with our recently announced expansion into the Dallas … market, pushes us towards that goal by adding scale, a loyal client base, and a group of dedicated entrepreneurial teammates to our efforts,” said Business First CEO Jude Melville.

Under the merger agreement, shareholders of the $323 million-asset Minden will receive $31.50 per share in cash. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

"This partnership, in conjunction with our recently announced expansion into the Dallas … market, pushes us towards that goal by adding scale, a loyal client base, and a group of dedicated entrepreneurial teammates to our efforts,” Jude Melville, president and CEO of Business First, said in a news release.

Business First announced last month that it had opened a loan production office in Dallas.

The combined institution would be the ninth-largest bank headquartered in Louisiana, with more than $1.5 billion of assets, Business First said.

Stephens and National Capital were financial advisers and Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford was legal adviser to Business First. Stephens also served as the sole placement agent for the private placement of common stock. Banks Street Partners was financial adviser to Minden and Phelps Dunbar was legal counsel.

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