First Citizens BancShares (FCNCA) in Raleigh, N.C., will acquire First Citizens Bancorp. in Columbia, S.C., combining companies that are majority owned by the same family.

The $22 billion-asset First Citizens BancShares will pay $637 million to $676 million in cash and stock for First Citizens Bancorp. The deal value depends on whether the seller's shareholders elect to receive cash or class B shares as part of their consideration. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Frank Holding Jr., chairman and chief executive of First Citizens BancShares, will lead the combined company. Holding's father and uncles once ran the two banks and the family still has majority ownership of the companies. Jim Apple, chairman and CEO of the $8 billion-asset First Citizens Bancorp., plans to retire when the transaction is completed.

"We see great opportunity in combining to create one bank with enormous potential for future success for our stockholders, customers, associates and communities," Holding said in a press release.

The company will have nearly $31 billion in assets, $26 billion in deposits, $18 billion in loans and 575 branches in 18 states. It would also become the biggest family owned bank in the country, surpassing the $27.4 billion-asset BOK Financial (BOKF) in Tulsa, Okla.

The companies noted that the merger agreement was negotiated and approved by a special committee of independent directors. Sandler O'Neill and Smith, Anderson, Blount, Dorsett, Mitchell & Jernigan advised First Citizens BancShares. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Robinson Bradshaw & Hinson advised First Citizens Bancorp.

The Holding family also has large, if not controlling, stakes in three other North Carolina banks: Fidelity BancShares in Fuquay-Varina, Southern BancShares in Mount Olive and Heritage Bank in Lucama. Holding's father retired from the board of First Citizens BancShares in April.

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