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Business Observer Monday, Jan. 27, 2020 2 months ago

Area bank, in $6 billion merger, to create Southeast financial giant

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South State Bank and CenterState Bank agree to a merger of equals.

WINTER HAVEN — CenterState Bank and South State Bank, headquartered in Columbia, S.C., have agreed to an all-stock merger that, if approved by regulators and shareholders, will create the eighth-largest bank headquartered in the Southeast.

The deal is valued at $6 billion and expected to close in the third quarter of 2020, according to a press release. The combined company will serve more than one million customers in six states and operate under the South State Bank name; its shares will trade on the NASDAQ stock exchange under ticket symbol “SSB.”

The company will be headquartered in Winter Haven, the release states, with a significant presence in Columbia and Charleston, S.C.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Atlanta. CenterState CEO John Corbett will be CEO of the combined company; South State CEO Robert Hill Jr. will remain with the bank as executive chairman.

“We have known and admired Robert and his team for over a decade, and we believe our two organizations are an outstanding fit,” Corbett states in the release. “Combining these two high-performing teams will allow us to build an even stronger company together.”

According to the terms of the deal, the release states, CenterState shareholders will own approximately 53% of the company and South State shareholders will own about 47%.

“We are excited to partner with CenterState,” Hill states in the release. “We have great respect for John, the management team and the company CenterState has built. This is a great combination of cultures, which will create tremendous value for our shareholders.”

Winter Haven-based CenterState reported gross revenue of $565.76 million in 2018, up from $316.5 million in 2017.

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