Jefferson Bancshares' efforts to sell itself were marked by several fits and starts over three years, highlighting the fickle nature of consolidation since the financial crisis.

Jefferson's (JFBI) board agreed to sell the $499 million-asset company to HomeTrust Bancshares (HTBI) Asheville, N.C., in January for $51.2 million. But the Morristown, Tenn., company initially asked Keefe, Bruyette & Woods to reach out to would-be suitors in 2011.

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