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First Financial (FFIN) to Acquire TB&T Bancshares for $190M

Zacks Equity Research

First Financial Bankshares, Inc FFIN recently signed a deal to acquire Texas-based TB&T Bancshares, Inc. The deal also involves the takeover of its wholly-owned subsidiary — The Bank & Trust of Bryan/College Station — also located in Texas. The all-stock agreement, anticipated to close in first-quarter 2020, is still subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.

Per the terms of the agreement, First Financial will issue nearly 6.3 million shares to TB&T Bancshares. The deal value of $190 million is based on First Financial’s share price of $30.28 on the day when both companies agreed on the pricing.

This apart, the buyout of The Bank & Trust will help further expand First Financial’s Texas footprint by adding five branches in Bryan and College Station. The region, home to thousands of students of Texas A&M University, Blinn College and the new Rellis Academic Alliance, has been witnessing growth in demand for higher education loans and other related banking services. This, in turn, is likely to strengthen the bank’s financials.

F. Scott Dueser, chairman, president and CEO of First Financial noted, “Once this acquisition is complete, we will have banking operations throughout Texas with 78 locations that span from Hereford in the Panhandle to Orange in southeast Texas. We welcome this opportunity to bring our expanded banking and wealth management services to this new market by adding The Bank & Trust to the financially strong and growing First Financial Bank family.”

Also, the chairman & CEO of The Bank & Trust mentioned that First Financial follows 'One Bank, Multiple Regions' principle, which combines traditional banking services with a big bank’s resources. He further added that this would them help cater to customers’ larger banking needs.

Prior to this, First Financial acquired Commercial Bancshares, Inc in Texas, last January. The company’s key objective is to enhance its market share and footprint in the region, as indicated by the bank’s inorganic growth efforts. This strategy is likely to be accretive to its financials.

Shares of First Financial have gained 14.8% compared with the industry’s rise of 11.6%, year to date. The stock currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The banking sector’s operating environment has been turbulent, of late, thanks to the Fed’s accommodative-monetary policy, trade-war related uncertainties and a number of other concerns. Banks have been trying to expand their market share and footprint through acquisitions to counter this turbulence. In recent months, many mid-sized regional banks, including Valley National Bancorp, Glacier Bancorp, Inc., Ameris Bancorp ABCB, BancorpSouth Bank BXS and Associated Banc-Corp ASB, have closed/announced transactions, which will likely be conducive to their earnings in the upcoming period.

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