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DOJ asks for 13 branch divestitures for Huntington-FirstMerit deal to proceed

Thirteen FirstMerit Corp. branchesin Northeast Ohio have been identified to be divested in order to resolveantitrust concerns surrounding its pending transaction with , according toan agreement with the U.S. Justice Department.

Six of the FirstMerit locations are in Canton and three arein Massillon. There is one each in Canal Fulton, Louisville, Ashtabula andJefferson. They have about$737.8 million in deposits, the DOJ stated.

The divested assets will include the deposits and loans, aswell as the entire customer relationships, associated with the divestedbranches, the DOJ said.

Also, the companies have agreed to suspend existing, and notto enter into new, noncompete agreements with their branch managers and loanofficers in Ashtabula County and Stark County, Ohio, for a period of 180 daysfollowing deal closing. The companies have also agreed to sell or leasebranches closed within two years of the consummation of the merger in AshtabulaCounty or Stark County to FDIC-insured depository institutions offering depositand credit services to small businesses.

The deal remains subject to the Federal Reserve's final approval. TheJustice Department said that it will not challenge the deal if Huntington andFirstMerit stick to the agreement.

"We are pleased the Department of Justice has approvedthe required divestiture … so that the approval process for Huntington'sacquisition of FirstMerit can continue moving forward," a Huntingtonrepresentative said in an emailed statement.

Columbus, Ohio-based Huntington is the parent of . Akron,Ohio-based FirstMerit is the holding company of .