Union First Market Bankshares (UBSH) in Richmond, Va., has agreed to acquire StellarOne (STEL) in Charlottesville, Va.

Union First will pay about $445 million for StellarOne, or $19.50 a share, in the stock deal. Union First will have $7.1 billion in assets, $5.2 billion in loans and $5.8 billion in deposits after the deal's expected Jan. 1 completion.

"We have long believed that the combination of Union and StellarOne would be powerful," G. William Beale, Union First's chief executive, said in a press release Monday. "Our combined statewide footprint coupled with our shared commitment to exceptional service positions us as a strong competitor against large regional institutions and smaller community banks."

Union First's current executive management will form the core of the company's leadership team. Raymond Smoot Jr., StellarOne's chairman, will have the same post at Union First. O. R. Barham Jr., StellarOne's president and CEO, had already announced plans to retire.

The acquisition is expected to add to Union First's earnings per share next year and will immediately boost its capital ratios.

Keefe, Bruyette and Woods was Union First's financial advisor; LeClairRyan served as legal advisor. Raymond James & Associates was StellarOne's financial, while Troutman Sanders acted as legal advisor.

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