First Commerce Corp., New Orleans, has negotiated the sale of 25 branches to two Louisiana competitors as it prepares for its sale to Banc One Corp.
First Commerce and Columbus, Ohio-based Banc One have set a deadline for completing their $3.1 billion deal of late June. A shareholders' vote is scheduled today.
With the branch sales negotiated and recent Federal Reserve approval of the merger, the way is now clear to complete the long-pending transaction, said company officials. Banc One announced plans to buy First Commerce last October.
"That's it. We're done," said Chris Spencer, a Banc One spokesman. "We should have the merger completed in the next two weeks."
In the largest of the two branch sales, ISB Financial Corp., New Iberia, La., agreed to buy 17 First Commerce offices with deposits totaling $478 million.
The price works out to a weighted average deposit premium of 6.45%. ISB, with $927 million of assets, is also acquiring about 7,800 loans, totaling $129 million. The purchase price equals the adjusted book value of the loans. The transaction is expected to be completed in September.
Another eight branches, with $159 million of deposits, are to be sold to $4.7 billion-asset Whitney Holding Corp. of New Orleans. The offices will give Whitney an entry into the Lake Charles area of the state, said Edward B. Grimball, a company spokesman.