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Citizens Community Bancorp beat 2 rivals on shortlist for Wells Financial

A total of nine financial institutions were contacted to ascertain their interest in a possible deal with Wells, Minn.-based Wells Financial Corp., which had been evaluating available strategic options with the goals of identifying opportunities for growth.

Eau Claire, Wis.-based Citizens Community Bancorp Inc. and seven other institutions executed confidentiality agreements. But only three, including Citizens Community, submitted written expressions of interest, which were received Nov. 23, 2016.

The three parties submitted revised written expressions of interest by Dec. 23, 2016, and were eventually invited to make additional changes or clarifications and provide their best and final offers.

By Jan. 11, the said offers were submitted by the three parties, two of which confirmed their standing bids with estimated values of $48.82 per share and $49.80 per share when they were put forward in December 2016. Citizens Community again increased its offer to roughly $51.00 per share, with a mixture of 19% stock and 81% cash based on a multiple of tangible book value up to a set percentage level of capital. Its previous offer was an estimated $50.00 per share — an increase from its initial bid involving an estimated per-share price of $47.70.

The deal process continued, with Citizens Community and Wells Financial announcing the proposed transaction March 17.