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The Bank of Edwardsville is being acquired by Busey Bank in a $304.9 million deal that should be concluded late this year or early next, officials from both banks said today.

 First Busey Corp., the holding company for Busey Bank, based in Champaign, Ill., and The Banc Ed Corp., the holding company for TheBANK of Edwardsville, today jointly announced the signing of a definitive agreement pursuant to which Busey will combine Banc Ed through a merger transaction.

In a release, the banks said the partnership will enhance Busey's existing deposit, commercial banking and wealth management presence in the greater St. Louis areas. Through the transaction, Busey's deposit share ranking improves from #18 to #7 in this metropolitan area.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Banc Ed stockholders will have the right to receive 8.2067 shares of common stock of First Busey and $111.53 in cash for each share of common stock of Banc Ed, with total consideration to consist of approximately 70 percent stock and 30 percent cash. Based upon Busey's closing share price of $31.89 on Aug. 21, 2018, the implied per share purchase price is $373.24 with an aggregate transaction value of approximately $304.9 million. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2018 or early in the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions and required approvals.

It is anticipated that TheBANK will be merged with and into Busey's bank subsidiary, Busey Bank, at a date following the completion of the holding company merger. At the time of the bank merger, TheBANK banking centers will become branches of Busey Bank. The combined pro forma franchise would serve customers through 82 full-service locations, including 62 branches across Illinois, as well as 14 in Missouri, five in Florida and one in Indiana and will have combined assets of $9.6B, $6.4B in gross loans, $7.7B in deposits and over $8.6B in assets under management.

Like Busey, TheBANK was founded in 1868 and operates as a privately held, locally owned and operated commercial bank headquartered in Edwardsville, Illinois. TheBANK currently employs over 360 associates and has 19 branch locations and one loan production office in the bi-state area: Alton, Belleville (2), Bethalto, Clayton, Collinsville, Edwardsville (3), Fairmont City, Glen Carbon (2), Granite City (2), Highland, O'Fallon, St. Charles (LPO), Swansea, Troy, and Wood River.

Busey President and Chief Executive Officer Van A. Dukeman said, "Being a strong, local community bank for the communities we serve is important to both Busey and TheBANK. Combining our like-minded, 150-year organizations together as one will allow us to build upon and further strengthen our shared beliefs, community focus and commitment to service excellence. Further, this business combination supports our strategic intention of increasing market share through partnerships with organizations whom have strong core deposit funding, solid commercial banking and credit practices, and a tradition of serving wealth management clients for generations."

Mark Shashek, chairman of Banc Ed's Board, and R.L. Plummer, chairman of TheBANK's Board on behalf of both boards of directors said, "The senior leadership of TheBANK and Busey have admired each other's institutions for decades. Each of us have very talented associates for which we are very grateful. While Banc Ed was not actively seeking a partnership, when Busey CEO Van Dukeman approached us about a possible business combination we listened on behalf of our employees, customers, communities and shareholders. Our admiration of the Busey team and franchise has only grown as we learned more about them during this process; we are confident our fellow stakeholders will agree as they learn more about the many benefits of this partnership."

TheBANK President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Powers added, "Thanks to talented employees, both organizations have demonstrated success in providing premiere customer service; building and maintaining strong relationships; and providing countless hours of human, social and financial capital to meet the needs of the communities we serve. We are excited TheBANK customers will continue to experience service excellence through the same bankers they know and trust, while benefitting from expanded access points across Illinois, Missouri, Indiana and SW Florida."

Busey has been named among American Banker's Best Banks to Work For since 2016; voted as one of the Best Places to Work in Illinois by associates since 2016; recognized as one of the 2018 Top Workplaces in St. Louis; among the Best Companies to Work For in Florida; as well as listed among the 2018 Best-In-State Banks for Illinois—a first ever recognition by Forbes—in addition to various wellness, training and development, philanthropic and other workplace awards.

Barack Ferrazzano Kirschbaum & Nagelberg LLP served as legal counsel and FIG Partners served as financial advisor to Busey. Howard & Howard served as legal counsel and Sandler O'Neill + Partners, L.P. served as financial advisor to Banc Ed.

-- From wire services