NationsBank Corp., Charlotte, N.C., said Monday it has a buyer for the last eight branches it must divest as part of its acquisition of Barnett Banks Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.

Republic Bancshares, St. Petersburg, Fla., agreed to pay $37.8 million for the branches, which have $255 million of deposits and $184 million of loans. Five branches are from Barnett, three from NationsBank. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.

Republic, with $1.5 billion of assets, is the only Florida banking company to snag a piece of the $4.1 billion of deposits that NationsBank was forced to divest as part of its $15.5 billion acquisition of Barnett.

"We feel terrific," said John W. Sapanski, Republic's chairman and chief executive officer. "When I heard about it, I let out a big 'Yes!' It's a wonderful opportunity to acquire branches of successful regional banks that have attractive deposit base and loans."

Mr. Sapanski said the branches, which include one in Georgia, give Republic access to new markets.

Last week, NationsBank announced it would sell 60 branches-with about $2.6 billion of deposits-to Huntington Bancshares, Columbus, Ohio, for $523 million.

In October, it said it would sell 60 branches to Southtrust Corp., Birmingham, Ala., for $160 million in cash.

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