In what would be its first acquisition in nearly a decade, Peoples Bancorp (PEBO) in Marietta, Ohio, announced Tuesday that it is buying Sistersville Bancorp in West Virginia for $9.8 million in cash.

Sistersville is the holding company for the 79-year-old First Federal Savings Bank. The thrift is one of the smallest institutions in the state, with just $48 million of assets and two branches in Sistersville and Parkersburg.

The deal would be the first for the $1.8 billion-asset Peoples since it acquired a Kentucky bank in 2003. In a news release, Peoples' President and Chief Executive Chuck Sulerzyski said the acquisition would beef up its market share in the Parkersburg area and provide an entry into the Sistersville market to the north. The two cities border the Ohio state line.

He also credited the thrift's management team for avoiding serious credit troubles during the recent economic downturn.

"We are pleased to add density to our existing West Virginia footprint while acquiring a strong franchise that complements our current growth strategy," Sulerzyski said.

Peoples said it would pay $30.74 in cash for each of Sistersville's thinly traded shares. The sale price represents an 86% premium over Sistersville's most recent closing price. The deal is expected to close next quarter.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.