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Pacific Premier 'ready' to do another deal

Asked by an analyst about Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc.'s readiness for a new transaction, Chairman, President and CEO Steven Gardner's answer was short and sweet: "We're ready now."

"We're continuing to have conversations," Gardner said during the Irvine, Calif.-based company's fourth-quarter 2016 earnings call on Jan. 24, according to a transcript.

In December 2016, Pacific Premier announced its proposed acquisition of Paso Robles, Calif.-based Heritage Oaks Bancorp in a deal valued at about $405.6 million.

Gardner said the company would not have much interest in an institution with assets lower than $500 million, which he described as being "on the low end of the scale."

"We would much prefer to see deals in the $2 billion, $3 billion to $5 billion range quite frankly," he said, adding that $5 billion is not the cap.

But the chief executive does not see a merger-of-equals. "I haven't seen it in -- maybe at the local zoo, there's a merger of equals, but I'm not familiar with it in real business," he said.

The company reported fourth-quarter 2016 net income of $12.0 million, or 43 cents per share. This includes $772,000 of merger-related expenses associated with the pending acquisition of Heritage Oaks.

Pacific Premier's fourth-quarter 2015 net income was $8.1 million, or 37 cents per share. For 2016, net income was $40.1 million, or $1.46 per share, compared to $25.5 million, or $1.19 per share, for 2015.