United Bankshares Inc. announced Thursday that it has agreed to buy Centra Financial Holdings Inc. for $187 million.

It would be the first acquisition in more than three years for the $7.5 billion-asset United, which has headquarters in Washington and in Charleston, W.Va.

United is to pay about 1.3 times tangible book value for the $1.4 billion-asset Centra, of Morgantown, W.Va. United said the purchase would enhance its positions in Maryland and West Virginia and provide it with an entry point into Pennsylvania.

United would exchange 0.77 share of its stock for each Centra share, or roughly $21 a share based on Dec. 10 closing prices.

United said it would pay cash for Centra's options. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

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