MARIETTA, Oh. – Peoples Bancorp Inc. and Premier Financial Bancorp, Inc. have jointly announced the signing of a definitive agreement and plan of merger where Peoples will acquire, in an all-stock merger, Premier, a bank holding company headquartered in Huntington, West Virginia, and the parent company of Premier Bank, Inc. (“Premier Bank”) and Citizens Deposit Bank & Trust, Inc. (“Citizens”). Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, Premier will merge with and into Peoples (the “Merger”), and Premier Bank and Citizens will subsequently merge with and into Peoples’ wholly owned subsidiary, Peoples Bank, in a transaction valued at approximately $292.3 million.
Upon completion of the Merger, the combined company will have approximately $6.7 billion in total assets, $4.6 billion in total loans and $5.5 billion in total deposits with 136 locations in Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
Premier, through its two community bank subsidiaries, operates 48 branches in thirty-eight communities spanning across five-states, plus Washington D.C. As of December 31, 2020, Premier had, on a consolidated basis, $1.9 billion in total assets, which included $1.2 billion in total net loans, and $1.6 billion in total deposits.
“We are excited about our partnership with Premier and the addition of significant scale to enhance our ability to drive future growth and improved profitability. Premier’s strong core franchise provides a natural extension of our existing markets, as well as entry into attractive markets within Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.” said Chuck Sulerzyski, President and Chief Executive Officer of Peoples. “Over the years, we have successfully expanded our West Virginia and Kentucky footprint. We are proud to have been recognized in 2020 as the number one bank in West Virginia as part of Forbes’ annual list of America’s Best-In-State Banks and Credit Unions. We also were voted as The Best in the Tri-State by readers of the Herald Dispatch (Huntington, WV). We look forward to welcoming Premier shareholders, employees and customers to become part of our team, and we are ecstatic to offer additional locations to new and existing Peoples Bank clients.”
Bob Walker, President and Chief Executive Officer of Premier commented, “We are excited to have the opportunity to join forces with one of the strongest banks in the region. Our customers, employees and shareholders will benefit from Peoples’ history of profitable growth and expertise in successfully executing acquisitions. We are also excited about Peoples’ expansive suite of products, which will provide us the ability to deliver new products and services, including insurance and investment products, to our valued customers in the communities we serve. Peoples’ community banking model, culture and commitment to high-quality customer service makes Peoples’ an excellent choice for Premier.”
According to the terms of the Merger Agreement, which has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies, shareholders of Premier will receive 0.58 shares of Peoples common stock for each share of Premier common stock, and the Merger is expected to qualify as a tax-free reorganization for Premier shareholders. Based on Peoples’ 20-day volume weighted average closing price of $33.95 per share as of March 26, 2021, the aggregate deal value is approximately $292.3 million, or $19.69 per share. The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Peoples’ estimated earnings before one-time costs, with a tangible book value earn back of approximately 2.6 years, and an internal rate of return in excess of 20%.
The acquisition is expected to close during the third quarter of 2021, subject to the satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals and the approval of the shareholders of Peoples and Premier. At that time, Premier’s offices will become branches of Peoples Bank.