Atlantic Coast Bank, one of last locally owned banks, acquired for $145 million

(Courtesy of Jacksonville Business News)

Ameris Bancorp (Nasdaq: ABCB), the parent company of Ameris Bank, announced Friday an agreement to acquire Atlantic Coast Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: ACFC), parent company of Jacksonville-based Atlantic Coast Bank.

Atlantic Coast operates 12 banking locations across Jacksonville; Waycross, Georgia and Douglas Georgia. The bank held $1.5 billion in deposits. Ameris agreed to purchase Atlantic Coast for $145 million.

“We view this transaction as an extension of our plan to build scale in Northeast Florida,” Edwin Hortman, Jr., Ameris president and CEO, said in a released statement. “A natural complement to our existing branch network, Atlantic Coast positions us well for continued success in our markets.”

After merging, Ameris will have $8.6 billion in assets, $6.9 billion in loans, $6.6 billion in deposits and branches in four states. Atlantic Coast stock will be converted into the right to receive 0.17 shares of Ameris common stock and $1.39 in cash. The merger agreement was unanimously approved by the boards of both companies.

“I fully expect our stockholders and customers will be proud to join an exceptional institution in Ameris,” John K. Stephens, Jr., president and CEO of Atlantic Coast, said in a released statement. “We could not be more excited to unlock greater potential through the new resources and products we will have available.”

The transaction is expected to be close in the second quarter of 2018. Atlantic Coast was one of the last Jacksonville-owned banks after the acquisition of FirstAtlantic Bank in August.

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