Last week, Ameris Bancorp (ABCB - Free Report) closed the acquisition of Atlantic Coast Financial Corporation for roughly $145 million (in aggregate). Per the terms, Atlantic Coast Financial shareholders will receive $1.39 in cash and 0.17 shares of Ameris Bancorp for each outstanding share of Atlantic Coast Financial.
The deal, announced in November 2017, also resulted in the merger of Ameris Bank (banking subsidiary of Ameris Bancorp) with Atlantic Coast Financial’s subsidiary, Atlantic Coast Bank. This further expanded Ameris Bancorp’s footprint in Jacksonville, FL (eight branches) and Southeast Georgia (four branches).
At the time of announcement of deal, Ameris Bancorp noted that the combined entity will have branch network in four states with nearly $8.6 billion in assets and $6.9 billion in loans.
Further, at that time, Edwin W. Hortman, Jr., President and CEO of Ameris Bancorp said, “We view this transaction as an extension of our plan to build scale in Northeast Florida. With a combined $1.5 billion deposits in the Jacksonville MSA, the addition of Atlantic Coast will solidify us as Northeast Florida's premier community bank.”
Given the strong liquidity position, Ameris Bancorp has been growing through acquisitions. In January 2018, it announced a stock cum cash transaction to acquire Georgia-based Hamilton State Bancshares, Inc. for nearly $406 million. This is the biggest deal (in terms of value) announced by Ameris Bancorp to date.
Further, over the past years, inorganic expansion strategy seems to be supporting Ameris Bancorp’s growth. Since 2013, the bank has acquired Prosperity Banking Company, Coastal Bankshares, Inc., Merchants & Southern Banks of Florida, Inc. and Jacksonville Bancorp, Inc. These buyouts have aided the company in expanding its footprint in Florida and Georgia.
Ameris Bancorp’s inorganic growth efforts have also cheered investors. The stock has rallied 26.9% in the past year, outperforming the industry’s rise of 19.4%.
Ameris Bancorp currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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Synovus Financial Corp. (SNV - Free Report) has witnessed upward earnings estimate revision of nearly 1% over the past 60 days for 2018. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock has rallied 11.4% so far this year.
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