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Georgia-based Morris State Bancshares buying FMB Equibanc

Dublin, Ga.-based Morris State Bancshares Inc. has agreed to buy Statesboro, Ga.-based FMB Equibanc Inc. in a deal valued at about $23.6 million.

Farmers & Merchants Bank will become part of Morris Bank with full-service locations in Dublin, Gordon, Gray, Warner Robins, Statesboro and Brooklet, all in Georgia. On a pro forma basis, the combined bank will have total assets of about $925 million, $725 million in loans and $800 million in deposits based on Sept. 30 results.

Each FMB Equibanc common share will receive Morris State common shares, cash or a combination of those valuing FMB Equibanc at $9.25 per share. FMB Equibanc President and CEO Brett Morgan will lead the Statesboro market after the deal closes. One existing FMB Equibanc board member will join the Morris State board, and two existing FMB Equibanc board members will join the Morris Bank board. Morris State will also form an advisory board for Bulloch County, which will consist of local business leaders.

On an aggregate basis, SNL calculates that the deal value is 161.6% of common equity, 12.23% of assets and 13.58% of deposits.

SNL valuations for bank and thrift targets in the Southeast region between Dec. 12, 2017, and Dec. 12, 2018, averaged 157.49% of book, 170.73% of tangible book and had a median of 26.34x last-12-months earnings, on an aggregate basis, and averaged 171.51% of book, 210.82% of tangible book and had a median of 24.85x LTM earnings, on a per-share basis.

The deal has a one-day premium of 29.37%, based on FMB Equibanc's closing price of $7.15 as of Dec. 11, and a one-month premium of 23.33%, based on FMB Equibanc's closing price of $7.50 as of Nov. 12.

Morris State will enter Bulloch County, Ga., with three branches to be ranked third with a 15.16% share of approximately $1.15 billion in total market deposits.

The deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

Stephens Inc. served as financial adviser for Morris State, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP served as legal adviser. FIG Partners LLC was financial adviser to FMB, and Troutman Sanders LLP was legal adviser.

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