Area Bancshares of Owensboro, Ky., said this week that it plans to buy Peoples Bancorp of Winchester (Ky.) Inc. for about $38.4 million of stock- or 2.8 times book value.

The $1.9 billion-asset company said Wednesday that it would exchange 17.33 shares of its stock for each share of Peoples stock, based on Area's closing price of $29.50 Aug. 21. In acquiring Peoples and its subsidiary, Peoples Commercial Bank, Area would gain a strong community bank that returned 19.52% on shareholder equity for the first half.

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