Ameris Bancorp, the owner of Ameris Bank, has agreed to acquire rival US bank holding company Fidelity Southern, the owner of Fidelity Bank, for about $750.7m in an all-stock deal.
The combined bank holding company post merger of Ameris and Fidelity will have nearly $16.2bn in assets based on 30 September 2018 results along with a branching network operating in four US states.
As per the terms, Fidelity will merge with and into Ameris with each share of the former’s common stock to be converted into the right to receive 0.80 shares of the latter’s common stock.
Ameris CEO Dennis Zember said: “Fidelity Bank is the crown jewel of Atlanta and we couldn’t be more excited to partner with such a fine institution.
“This partnership not only strengthens our management team, but also creates a dynamic franchise with the opportunity for quality growth for the foreseeable future.”
Overall the merger will create an enlarged company with 72 branches and deposits worth $4.7bn located in the Atlanta Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) to go along with 26 branches and close to $1.8bn of deposits in the Jacksonville MSA.
Currently, Ameris Bank, which is headquartered in Georgia, has 129 locations across Alabama, northern Florida and South Carolina in addition to its home state.
Fidelity, which also owns LionMark Insurance in addition to Fidelity Bank, offers banking services and wealth management services and credit-related insurance products. The company has branches in Georgia and Florida along with an insurance office in Atlanta, Georgia.
The merger has been approved unanimously by the board of directors of both Ameris and Fidelity.
Fidelity chairman and CEO James Miller said: “We have built a relationship with Ameris over the years and now is the time to combine our respective franchises to create a leading Southeastern bank holding company operating in a number of the best banking markets in the country.
“I am convinced that this merger will result in benefits to the shareholders, customers and employees of both companies that would have likely taken years to accomplish independently.”
Subject to customary closing conditions such as receipt of regulatory approvals and approval of shareholders of both the bank holding companies, the transaction is anticipated to be wrapped up in the second quarter of 2019.