Synovus Financial in Columbus, Ga., has agreed to buy FCB Financial Holdings in Weston, Fla.

The $31 billion-asset Synovus said in a press release Tuesday that it will pay $2.9 billion in stock for the $11 billion-asset FCB. The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter, priced FCB at 230% of its tangible book value.

The deal is the first traditional whole-bank acquisition for Synovus since it bought Banking Corp. of Florida in April 2006. It bought World’s Foremost Bank from Cabela’s last fall, though the acquisition was part of a complicated transaction to facilitate Capital One Financial’s plan to obtain the retailer’s credit card portfolio.

The FCB purchase is the second-biggest bank deal announced this year, based on value. The year’s largest deal is Fifth Third Bancorp’s $4.6 billion deal for MB Financial.

“This acquisition will expand our presence in the high-growth south Florida marketplace while leveraging FCB’s market leading reputation, culture, and successful organic growth platform,” Kessel Stelling, Synovus’ chairman and CEO, said in the release.

Synovus will gain $9.9 billion in deposits and 50 branches in Florida.

Kent Ellert, FCB’s president and CEO, will become Florida market president for Synovus.

Synovus said it expects to cut about $40 million in noninterest expenses as part of the integration.

The deal should be 6.5% accretive to Synovus’ 2020 earnings per share, excluding merger-related expenses. It should take less than two years to earn back the expected 3.3% dilution to Synovus’ tangible book value.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch; J.P. Morgan Securities; Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; and Alston & Bird advised Synovus. Sandler O’Neill; Guggenheim Securities; Evercore Group; and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz advised FCB.

Synovus, in a separate release, said its quarterly earnings rose 48% from a year earlier, to $109 million. Earnings per share of 91 cents topped the mean estimate of analysts polled by FactSet Research Systems by 3 cents.

Synovus Chairman and CEO Kessel Stelling.
Synovus' planned purchase of FCB is its first major bank acquisition under CEO Kessel Stelling.

Rising interest rates, fee income and modest loan growth helped Synovus’ second-quarter results.

Total loans increased by 3% to $25.1 billion, with growth in consumer and commercial-and-industrial loans offsetting a decline in commercial real estate. The net interest margin expanded by 35 basis points to 3.86%.

Noninterest income rose by 7%, to $73.4 million, featuring improved income from fiduciary and asset management fees, brokerage services and card fees.

Laura Alix contributed to this report.