A U.S. bankruptcy court judge has approved Simmons First National's (SFNC) bid to buy Metropolitan National Bank.

The $3.6 billion-asset Simmons First said Thursday that it plans to pay $53.6 million in cash for the Little Rock, Ark., bank. On Monday, Simmons First announced that it won a bankruptcy auction for Metropolitan National, a $991 million-asset unit of Rogers Bancshares, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July.

Simmons First will also buy Metropolitan National's $862 million of deposits and its $370 million of assets under management. Simmons First will not inherit any of Rogers' obligations.

Metropolitan National has 14 branches in Arkansas. Simmons First, which has eight banks, will combine Metropolitan National with its Simmons First National Bank.

"Simmons First has had a long, positive history with the Rogers family and Metropolitan National," George Makris, Simmons First's chief executive-elect, said in a press release. "We believe the acquisition fits nicely into our footprint and will enable us to better meet our combined customers' needs in Central and Northwest Arkansas."

Sterne Agee & Leach and Quattlebaum, Grooms, Tull & Burrow advised Simmons First. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods advises Rogers. The companies expect the deal to close in the fourth quarter.

Other bidders at the auction of Metropolitan National's included Arvest Bank of Fayetteville, Ark., and private-equity firm Ford Financial Group.

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