The Bank Slate


Peoples in Ohio to buy Limestone in Kentucky

Peoples Bancorp in Marietta, Ohio, has agreed to buy Limestone Bancorp in Louisville, Ky.

The $7 billion-asset Peoples said in a press release that it will pay $208.2 million in stock for the $1.5 billion-asset Limestone. The acquisition, nicknamed “Project Bourbon,” is expected to close in the second quarter.

The deal priced Limestone at 173% of its tangible book value.

Limestone has 20 branches, $1.1 billion of loans and $1.2 billion of deposits.

“We view Limestone’s corporate culture and philosophy as very similar to our own and have been impressed with what John Taylor and his team have been able to accomplish,” Chuck Sulerzyski, Peoples’ president and CEO, said in the release.

“Over the years we have expanded our presence in Kentucky to 25 branches … and we are ecstatic to offer additional locations to new and existing Peoples Bank clients,” Sulerzski added.

The transaction is expected to be 11% accretive to Peoples’ 2024 earnings. It should take less than three years for Peoples to earn back an estimated 9.6% dilution to its tangible book value.

Peoples plans to cut about 30% of Limestone’s annual noninterest expenses. The company expects to incur roughly $17.7 million of merger-related expenses.

Limestone’s chairman is expected to join Peoples’ board.

Peoples was advised by Raymond James and Dinsmore & Shohl.  Limestone was advised by Piper Sandler and Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs.

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