Arvest Bank to acquire Bear State Bank in $391 million deal

Deal brings together banks with branches in Southeast and Southwest

In a deal that will combine two Arkansas-based community banks, Bear State Financial, the parent company of Bear State Bank, and Arvest Bank announced Tuesday that Arvest will be acquiring Bear State in an all-cash deal valued at approximately $391 million.

The deal values Bear State, which trades on the NASDAQ under the symbol “BSF,” at $10.28 per share. For reference, Bear State’s stock closed Monday’s trading at $9.20, and the stock is up on Tuesday’s acquisition news, trading above $10 for the first time since January.

Bear State Bank operates 42 branches, three technology centers, and three loan production offices in Arkansas, Southwest Missouri and Southeast Oklahoma, while Arvest Bank has more than 250 branches in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Kansas through a group of 16 locally managed markets, each with its own local board and management team.

According to a release from the companies, the acquisition agreement was unanimously approved by the boards of each company.

The banks expect the deal to close in either the fourth quarter of 2017 or first quarter of 2018, subject to regulatory approval and approval by Bear State’s shareholders.

The banks stated that clients of each bank will not notice any immediate changes, and both banks will continue to conduct business as usual.

The banks add that at a later date, Bear State Bank’s branding will change to Arvest Bank, with the full conversion of systems expected to occur in 2018.

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