CINCINNATI - Fifth Third Bancorp has announced a definitive agreement to acquire Kentucky Enterprise Bancorp, a $280 million-asset thrift company based in Newport, Ky., with 11 offices in four counties.

The offices will be merged into Fifth Third Bank of Northern Kentucky, which has 23 offices in those counties, after the completion of the deal, expected early next year. The deal will make Fifth Third the largest bank in the area, with more than $1 billion of assets, said president and chief executive officer George A. Schaefer Jr.

The $17 billion-asset Fifth Third agreed to exchange 0.3823 share of its stock for each one of Kentucky Enterprise. The indicated value as of Aug. 28 was $21.31 a share, or $64.3 million.

Kentucky Enterprise chairman Mentor E. Graves said the agreement culminates his board's effort to maximize returns to shareholders. He said Fifth Third made the highest of several bids.

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