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Razorbacks chomp gators (in banking)

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  • | 11:00 a.m. November 13, 2015
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Arkansas bankers are making big moves into Florida, paying top dollar for another bank in the Sunshine State.

The latest acquisition: Bank of the Ozarks' $402.5 million deal to buy St. Petersburg-based C1 Financial, parent of C1 Bank. C1, one of the largest banks headquartered on the Gulf Coast, has 32 offices in Florida and $1.7 billion in assets.

The deal, priced at more than twice C1's tangible book value, is the richest bank deals in Florida in recent history, according to SNL Financial data. (The tracking firm defines a bank's tangible book value as common equity less intangible assets.)

In dollar terms, the $402.5 million price tag represents the biggest bank deal in the state since the beginning of last year (see chart). It shows out-of-state financial institutions such as Little Rock-based Bank of the Ozarks are willing to pay up for larger Florida banks.

Including the Bank of the Ozarks deal for C1, Arkansas-based banks have led three of the top five richest bank merger-and-acquisition deals in Florida, SNL data show. The other two were by Conway, Ark.-based Home BancShares of Florida Business BancGroup in June and Broward Financial Holdings in July 2014.

Bank of the Ozarks already has a presence on the Gulf Coast with 10 offices. But the acquisition of C1 will give it new territories in Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Orlando and Miami. C1's president and CEO, Trevor Burgess, will serve as Florida president for Bank of the Ozarks and as its chief innovation officer.

Top Five Bank Deals
Here are the top five bank deals in Florida since January 2014, ranked by the ratio of deal value to tangible book value.


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