By Joe Rauch CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 10 (Reuters) - Jacksonville Bancorp Inc said on Monday it plans to buy local rival Atlantic Bancgroup Inc in a stock and cash deal valued at up to $3.1 million. The buyout of a Jacksonville, Florida-based bank by an in-town rival is one of the first bank deals done without U.S. government assistance since the financial crisis in 2008. Analysts called it a small, but significant, step in the banking sector's recovery and said it could spur further deals. "In the small to mid-size bank market, they start to copy each other," said Chris Marinac, banking analyst with Atlanta-based FIG Partners LLC.
"Someone has to be a leader and make a move." Executives for the banks were not immediately available for comment. Shares of Atlantic Bancgroup plunged on the deal's announcement, dropping 24 percent to $3.34 per share in morning trading. Thinly traded Jacksonville Bancorp shares did not post an increase or decrease in price after the deal was announced. The deal still requires Atlantic Bancgroup shareholder approval, but is expected to close in third quarter 2010. Under the terms of the deal, Atlantic Bancgroup shareholders would receive 0.2 share of Jacksonville Bancorp stock for every share of Atlantic stock owned. Jacksonville Bancorp expects to issue 250,000 shares to Atlantic shareholders. Atlantic shareholders might receive cash as part of the deal, up to 65 cents per share, but that would depend upon asset sales from Atlantic's balance sheet. Four private investors -- led by Capgen Capital Group IV LP -- also agreed to purchase stock, adding $30 million in new capital to the merged company. Capgen would also add a second director to the merged company's board. The combined company would have $760 million in assets and $60 million in equity. Gilbert Pomar, currently the chief executive of Jacksonville Bancorp, would lead the combined company. Both banks are headquartered in a region hard hit by the housing downturn. Atlantic Bancgroup reported a $5 million net loss for fourth quarter 2009 -- the most recent figures available -- and posted elevated loan losses related to home construction. Jacksonville Bancorp posted a $256,000 fourth quarter 2009 profit, and nonperforming assets were stable year-to-year. (Reporting by Joe Rauch, editing by Gerald E. McCormick) Keywords: BANKS/MERGER (email@example.com; +1 704 692 5885; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org) COPYRIGHT Copyright Thomson Reuters 2010. All rights reserved.
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