Columbia Bank buys 150 new branches

Columbia Bank buys 150 new branches

Steve’s breakdown: With this sort of investment, we think a new advertising campaign might in order.

TACOMA, WA: The parent company of Tacoma-based Columbia Bank announced Wednesday it plans to acquire West Coast Bancorp, a Portland-area banking franchise, creating a bank with more than $7.2 billion in assets and more than 150 branches.

The banks, which are both the third largest banks by assets in their home states, said the combination would give Columbia Bank the number-one deposit market share among commercial community banks in the two-state region, a challenger to fast-growing Portland-based competitor Umpqua Bank.

Columbia is paying 506 million, with $264.5 million in cash and 12.8 million shares of stock. Based on Columbia’s closing share price of $18.85 on Tuesday, West Coast shareholders would receive a 14.5 percent premium, or about $23.10 per share, the companies said. West Coast shareholders can choose to receive Columbia’s stock, cash or a combination, officials said.

The directors of both companies have approved the merger, while shareholders controlling about 22 percent of West Coast have already agreed to vote in favor of the merger, officials said.

“We are very pleased that West Coast has agreed to join and grow with Columbia,” said Melanie Dressel, president and CEO of Columbia. She said the deal would create “the premier community banking franchise in the Pacific Northwest.”

Robert Sznewajs, president and CEO of West Coast Bancorp in Lake Oswego, Ore., said the merger was “a rare fit of two high quality organizations with similar business models, cultures and values.” He will retire once the banks are combined.

Bank officials said they expected the deal to close in the first quarter of 2013. The transaction is subject to approval by shareholders as well as federal and state regulators.

Columbia has been on an acquisition spree since 2010, picking up five failed banks in the two states.

Wednesday’s announcement is the biggest acquisition yet, boosting its Oregon deposit market share substantially and adding more than 50 branches from Seattle to Eugene.

If the deal closes, West Coast shareholders will own about 24 percent of the combined company, officials said.


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