First Merchants Corp. in Muncie, Ind., has agreed to buy Ameriana Bancorp in New Castle, Ind.

The $5.9 billion-asset First Merchants said in a press release Monday that it will pay $68.8 million, or $22.71 a share, in stock for the $483 million-asset Ameriana. The transaction is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter, with integration set to take place in the second quarter of 2016.

Ameriana also has 14 branches, $325 million in loans and $391 million in deposits.

"The addition of Ameriana... supports our goal of becoming a more efficient, higher performing company," Michael Rechin, First Merchants' president and chief executive, said in the release. "With the addition of significant deposits in Henry and Madison counties, First Merchants will hold the lead market share position.... The merger will also add five locations to our 13 banking centers in Hamilton County, the fastest-growing Indiana market."

First Merchants said it expects the deal to be accretive to earnings per share in the first full year of combination. The company said it should earn back the deal's tangible book value dilution within four years.

First Merchants was advised by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Bingham Greenebaum Doll. Ameriana was advised by River Branch Capital and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton.

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