LCNB acquires Columbus-market bank in nearly $67M deal

A Lebanon Citizens National Bank merger valued at nearly $67 million will boost that bank’s presence in the Columbus market.

LCNB Corp., the holding company for LCNB National Bank, and Columbus First Bancorp, Inc., the holding company for Columbus First Bank, said Tuesday they have signed a merger agreement whereby LCNB will acquire Columbus First in an all-stock transaction.

When the merger is complete, LCNB estimates it will have consolidated assets valued at some $1.65 billion with 35 banking offices in Ohio.

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Columbus First Bank will become a branch of LCNB National Bank.

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Columbus First operates a full-service office in Worthington and had about $333.4 million in assets, $290.5 million in loans, $269.9 million of deposits as of Sept. 30, 2017, the banks said in a joint statement.

LCNB operates a loan production office in the Columbus market which opened in June 2017.

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“We are very excited to announce this acquisition,” Steve Foster, LCNB chief executive and president, said in the statement. “Columbus First Bank, its board of directors and staff have a great reputation throughout the greater Columbus market as a service-first organization supported by dedicated and experienced personnel.”

According to the agreement, Columbus First shareholders will receive two shares of LCNB common stock for each outstanding share of Columbus First common stock.

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Based on the LCNB closing share price as of Dec. 20, the transaction is valued at $41 for each Columbus First share or about $66.9 million in aggregate.

LCNB National Bank is a 140-year-old community bank that was founded in Lebanon and serves 10 Southwestern and South-Central Ohio counties with 34 bank offices.

Following the merger, John Smiley, president and chief lending officer of Columbus First and Columbus First Bank, will join LCNB as executive vice president and Columbus market president.

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In addition, the LCNB board of directors will appoint Rhett Huddle, chairman and CEO of Columbus First and Columbus First Bank, and another Columbus First board member to be determined later.

One-time transaction costs to be incurred by LCNB are estimated at $2.5 million after-tax, the bank said.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018.

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