Coastal Banking in Beaufort, S.C., has agreed to buy First Avenue National Bank of Ocala in Florida.

The $439 million-asset Coastal said in a press release Monday that it expects the deal to close in the first quarter. The company did not disclose the price it will pay for the $125 million-asset First Avenue.

Coastal noted that the deal marks its first entry into Florida.

First Avenue has three branches, $108 million in deposits and $79 million in gross loans. About 77% of the bank's deposits are low-cost core deposit accounts, contributing to a 4.3% net interest margin, Coastal said.

The acquisition "creates value both for our customers and shareholders by combining two strong and complementary banks," Michael Sanchez, Coastal's chairman and chief executive, said in the release. "The managerial talent and core operations of both banks will allow our organization to leverage the combination to deliver even more shareholder and customer value going forward."

Ralph Strayhorn, First Avenue's president and chief executive, will return to his banking and business advisory practice once the deal closes. Three senior executives – Adam Woods, Jason Welborn and Patrick Moses – are expected to join Coastal.

Coastal said it expects the deal to be modestly dilutive to next year's earnings, reflecting merger-related costs, though it should turn accretive in 2017.

Coastal was advised by Paces Battle Group and Bryan Cave. First Avenue was advised by Burke Group and Smith Mackinnon.

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