In its biggest deal to date, the acquisitive Community First Bankshares announced Tuesday that it would buy the Wyoming subsidiary of Cleveland-based KeyCorp.
Fargo, N.D.-based Community First, which has $3.1 billion of assets, said it would buy KeyBank Wyoming for $135 million in cash, a $60 million premium over the unit's $75 million of equity.
Since it was founded 10 years ago, Community First has relied on acquisitions to build a small-town franchise in seven central states. It has long eyed Wyoming, where the KeyCorp unit commands $1.2 billion of assets and $933 million of deposits.
"We have been looking for an opportunity to enter Wyoming," said Donald R. Mengedoth, chief executive officer of Community First, "and are pleased to be entering the state with an acquisition of this size."
The sale is another step in KeyCorp's plan, announced last November, to sell about 140 branches nationwide as part of an extensive corporate overhaul. Key, which has 28 branches in Wyoming, had already announced several transactions, and it now has agreements for more than half its planned branch divestiture.