TriCo Bancshares (TCBK) in Chico, Calif., has agreed to buy North Valley Bancorp (NOVB) in Redding, Calif.

The $2.6 billion-asset TriCo will pay about $178 million in stock for the $912 million-asset North Valley, or $26.09 a share. The company would have 80 branches, $3.1 billion in deposits and $2.2 billion in loans.

The transaction is expected to be completed by mid-2014. Three North Valley directors will join TriCo's board.

"Both banks are highly respected for their superior customer service, financial products and strong roots in their communities," Richard Smith, TriCo's president and chief executive, said in a press release Wednesday. "Together we are even better. The merger provides for even greater customer convenience through an expanded branch network with improved cost efficiencies to maintain our competitive self-service channels and enhance financial performance."

TriCo said it expects double-digit accretion to its earnings per share in 2015. It also plans to extract about 40% of North Valley's core noninterest expense, while earning back its tangible book value in four years.

TriCo was advised by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Bingham McCutchen. North Valley was advised by Sandler O'Neill and Dodd Mason George.

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