Independent to Buy Peoples Federal in Mass.

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Independent Bank in Rockland, Mass., has agreed to buy Peoples Federal Bancshares in Brighton.

Independent agreed to pay approximately $130.6 million in cash and stock for Peoples. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of next year.

The acquisition will expand the presence of Independent's commercial banking unit, Rockland Trust, around Boston, where the $606 million-asset Peoples currently operates eight branches.

"The combining of our two institutions will help unite our steadily growing eastern Massachusetts footprint," Christopher Oddleifson, Independent's chief executive, said in a press release Tuesday.

The $6.3 billion-asset Independent has grown in recent years by acquiring much smaller Massachusetts banks.

In 2012 it bought the $551 million-asset Central Co-operative Bank in Somerville, just outside of Boston. It also closed on its purchase of the $224 million-asset Mayflower Co-operative Bank in Middleborough, just west of Cape Cod, last November.

Independent was advised by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and used Day Pitney and Choate Hall & Stewart as legal counsel in its latest deal. Peoples was advised by Sandler O'Neill & Partners and used Bingham McCutchen as its legal counsel.

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