DOVER, N.H. Bank of Ireland First Holdings said Tuesday its First NH Bank unit will buy Great Bay Bankshares for $52.6 million in cash, or 1.3 times book value.

Great Bay, with $319 million of assets, is the parent company of Southeast Bank and Constitution Trust Co.

The transaction price equals $19.50 per Great Bay common share and does not include outstanding stock options valued at about $2.8 million. The merger is expected to be completed in early 1995, pending shareholder and regulatory approvals.

Great Bay has agreed, under certain circumstances, to pay Bank of Ireland First Holdings a fee of $2.5 million if the deal falls through. First NH Bank has $3.3 billion of assets.

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