Citigroup said it agreed to acquire Dallas-based Associates First Capital Corp. for $31.1 billion in stock, in efforts to step up Citigroup's global consumer financial services expansion.

Based on Sept. 5 closing prices, Associates' shareholders will receive 0.7334 common share, or $42.49 per share of Citigroup for each Associates share. Associates has over $100 billion in managed assets, $10.3 billion in shareholder equity, and 2,750 offices in 14 countries including the U.S.

"We are particularly excited about The Associates' strong presence in Japan, where it is the fifth largest consumer finance company, and in Europe, where it has more than 700,000 customers," said Citigroup's chairman and CEO, Sanford I. Weill. "In addition, this transaction further increases our base of recurring and predictable earnings, strengthens our position in the credit card business, consumer and commercial finance business domestically and will expand our commercial leasing business."

(Related Content Online: Citigroup and Associates First 12-month stock performance)


Nearly two weeks since its last announced acquisition, BB&T Corp. of Winston-Salem, N.C., said Wednesday it would purchase FirstSpartan Financial Corp. of Spartanburg, S.C. for $103.9 million in stock, expanding the company's presence on the I-85 corridor in South Carolina.The 11-branch FirstSpartan Financial has $591 million of assets. The deal, valued at $26.87 per FirstSpartan share based on BB&T's closing price of $26.87 on Tuesday, will increase BB&T's South Carolina assets to $5.8 billion. The $55.2 billion-asset BB&T ranks third in market share in South Carolina with 9.40%, behind Wachovia Corp. (15.30%) and Bank of America Corp. (11.98%). BB&T is first in Greenville county with 21.04%, and will be first in Spartanburg - BB&T has 7.64% and FirstSpartan has 17.04% market share (Market share data was provided by Sheshunoff Information Services' BankSource).

(From Our Archive -- BB&T to Enter Tenn. in $150M Purchase - Aug. 24, 2000)


Valley National Bancorp of Wayne, N.J. announced it would buy New York-based commercial bank Merchants New York Bancorp for $375 million.Merchants New York is the holding company for The Merchants Bank of New York, a $1.4 billion-asset, 7-branch, traditional commercial bank with a strong focus on middle-market lending.

"Over the years, Merchants has developed a strong following among small- to medium-sized companies that want to maintain their banking relationship with senior management and the decision makers in the bank," said Gerald H. Lipkin, chairman, president and CEO of the $6.2 billion-asset Valley. "This closely follows Valley's approach to lending and highlights the attractiveness of the merger."

The companies said The Merchants Bank would continue to operate in Manhattan under its existing name as a division of Valley National Bank. Each Merchants common share will be exchanged for 0.7634 share of Valley common stock. Valley and Merchants expect the merger will be completed in the first quarter of 2001.

(Related Content Online: Valley National and Merchants New York 12-month stock performance)

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