Wesbanco Inc. and Commercial Bancshares said Wednesday they signed a definitive merger pact. The deal is valued at about $130 million.

Wesbanco, based in Wheeling, has assets of $1.7 billion and 46 banking locations in West Virginia and Ohio. Commercial, headquartered in Parkersburg, has assets of $417 million and 17 offices in the two states. Commercial has also recently agreed to buy Gateway Bancshares, McMechen, W.Va.

Under the merger plan, Wesbanco would exchange 2.85 shares of its common stock for each share of Commercial outstanding in a tax free exchange. The merger would be based on a fixed exchange ratio and accounted for as a pooling of interests. Commercial has also granted to Wesbanco an option, exercisable under certain conditions, to buy up to 19.9% of Commercial's outstanding common shares.

The combined bank would be called Wesbanco and have its headquarters in Parkersburg. The transaction is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 1998.

"We are looking forward to joining with Commercial to create one of the strongest banking franchises in the mid and upper Ohio Valley regions," said Edward M. George, president and chief executive officer of Wesbanco.

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