Southern Missouri Bancorp (SMBC) in Poplar Bluff, Mo., has agreed to buy Peoples Banking Company in Nixa, Mo.

Southern Missouri will pay roughly $22.9 million in cash and stock for Peoples, according to the companies' joint Wednesday press release. Southern Missouri will also assume $6.5 million in subordinated debt and retire $2.9 million in other debt under the terms of the merger agreement.

The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Southern Missouri will acquire People's 10 branches, $275 million of assets, $191 million of loans and $230 million of deposits, giving it a total of $1.3 billion of assets and 35 branches in southern Missouri and northeast and north central Arkansas.

The deal is expected to be accretive to tangible book value after four years, Southern Missouri President and Chief Executive Greg Steffens said in the release.

"Our investors may note that this period is longer than we've been willing to accept in other transactions," Steffens said. "However, we believe that the strategic opportunities this merger affords our organization will prove to make it a wise investment."

"We have been interested for some time in expanding our presence in and around Springfield, Missouri," Steffens added, "and we first began working towards that in mid-2010, with the opening of a loan production office in that market. We have experienced strong loan growth in what is now a full-service facility in Springfield, but this partnership provides a great opportunity to build on that with Peoples' substantial retail presence in the market."

Todd Hensley, chairman and chief executive of Peoples, will join Southern Missouri's board of the directors after the merger is complete.

The deal would be Southern Missouri's third since late last year. It completed its $5.9 million purchase of Citizens State Bankshares in Bald Knob, Ark., last week and it paid $6.5 million for Ozarks Legacy Community Financial in Thayer, Mo., in October.

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