Columbia Banking System in Tacoma, Wash., has agreed to buy Intermountain Community Bancorp in Sandpoint, Idaho.

The $7.2 billion-asset Columbia will pay $121.5 million, or $18.22 a share, in cash and stock for the $911 million-asset Intermountain. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter and should be immediately accretive to Columbia's earnings per share.

Tangible book value dilution of roughly 1% should be earned back in about three years.

"We have stated for many years that it has long been our strategy to become the premier Pacific Northwest regional community bank," Melanie Dressel, president and chief executive, said in a press release late Wednesday. "We have always felt that Idaho was an important part of that strategy and Intermountain, with their statewide presence, provides us with a substantial base."

Curt Hecker, Intermountain's president and chief executive, will lead Idaho expansion for Columbia. Intermountain's two biggest shareholders have agreed to support the merger.

Columbia was advised by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Sullivan & Cromwell. Intermountain was advised by Sandler O'Neill and Graham & Dunn.

Intermountain is the latest Idaho bank to sell. D.L. Evans Bancorp earlier this year agreed to buy Idaho Banking through a bankruptcy auction, outbidding Banner Corp. Interestingly, Banner also was thwarted in its attempt to buy Home Federal Bancorp in Nampa, Idaho, which was sold to Cascade Bancorp.

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