ST. LOUIS -- Home Federal Bancorp of Missouri Inc. had reiterated its opposition to unsolicited acquisition proposals from First Banks Inc.

St. Louis-based Home Federal said the latest response came after a financial review of itself by its outside auditors.

First Banks, a privately held holding company, had proposed to pay Home Federal shareholders either $26.75 cash per share or preferred stock in a tax-free exchange.

First Banks is controlled by James F. Dierberg, who indirectly is Home Federal's largest shareholder, with about a 10% interest.

Home Federal said it board "intends to pursue the long-term plan of independent growth through internal expansion and possible selective negotiated acquisitions."

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