Investors Bancorp (ISBC) in Short Hills, N.J., has agreed to buy another mutual thrift in New Jersey.

The seller, Gateway Community Financial, is the holding company for GCF Bank. Gateway has $310 million in assets, nearly $280 million in deposits and four branches in Gloucester County.

The $13 billion-asset Investors said late Friday that it would absorb Gateway and that its mutual holding company would absorb Gateway's mutual holding company. Gateway has no public shareholders, so no consideration will be paid to third parties, the companies said in a press release.

Investors will instead issue common stock to Investors MHC to cover the deal. An independent appraiser will determine Gateway's market value, which will determine how many shares Investors should issue. Gateway has a net worth of $24.6 million, the release said.

Investors shares closed Friday at $18.60 a share, unchanged from a day earlier. The acquisition, subject to regulatory approval and set to close in the third quarter, was announced after the market close.

Investors' expansion efforts in New York and New Jersey have drawn attention in recent months. It agreed to buy Roma Financial (ROMA) in Robbinsville, N.J., in December in a deal valued at $459 million. Last year, the company completed the acquisitions of Brooklyn Federal Savings Bank for $10.3 million and Marathon National Bank for $135 million. Investors has been planning to convert to a fully stock-owned company, though industry observers have expected it to buy more mutuals before completing that process since it will be legally barred from such deals after a second-step conversion.

Friday's announcement gave no hint of what other plans Investors, led by Chief Executive Kevin Cummings, might have. "Along with our anticipated merger of Roma … this acquisition enhances our footprint in the southern New Jersey and greater Philadelphia markets," Cummings said in the release.

The Keefe, Bruyette & Woods unit of Stifel Financial advised Investors, as did the law firm of Luse, Gorman, Pomerenk & Schick. Sandler O'Neill and Partners was Gateway's financial advisor; Stevens & Lee was its legal counsel.

The seller, Gateway Community Financial in Sewell, N.J., is the holding company for GCF Bank. Gateway has $310 million in assets, nearly $280 million in deposits and four branches in Gloucester County.

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