Carolina First Corp., the largest independent bank holding company in South Carolina, agreed to buy privately held First National Bank of Pickens County in a $57 million tax-free stock swap.

The deal, announced Tuesday, is valued at 3.7 times book. value, or $708 per share. Carolina First would exchange 24.93 shares- about $708 worth-for each share of First National.

First National would be merged with Carolina First Bank.

Greenville, S.C.-based Carolina First Corp. has $2.3 billion of assets and 64 branches throughout the state. First National, based in Easley, S.C., has $120 million of assets and $96 million of deposits; it operates four branches.

Carolina First said the deal would bring it into the fastest-growing county in the northern part of South Carolina. "This merger makes sense for both organizations and fits with our strategy of expanding in attractive, profitable markets," said Mack I. Whittle Jr., they buyer's president and chief executive officer. The sale is expected to close in the third quarter.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.