First Prestonsburg Bancshares Inc.'s board began exploring the M&A scene in eastern Kentucky in 2014, and that year, Ohio-based Peoples Bancorp Inc. expressed interest in acquiring it.
The First Prestonsburg board took into account the ageing of the private bank's shareholders and the desire of the majority shareholder's family for dividends and liquidity.
Even though both companies discussed in 2014 and in early 2015 a potential deal, the talks did not lead to any informal or formal agreement. The companies did keep in touch over the ensuing years.
Discussion of a deal accelerated in July following a meeting between First Commonwealth Bank of Prestonsburg CEO Greg Wilson and Peoples CEO Charles Sulerzyski.
ProBank Austin — which First Prestonsburg had asked to assist in evaluating a possible transaction with Peoples — estimated a control level valuation range of $41 million to $45 million for First Prestonsburg based on June 30 financial data.
The deal process continued, and the proposed transaction valued at $45.4 million was announced Oct. 29.