Pine Bluff-based Simmons First National Corporation announced Friday the execution of a merger agreement in which Simmons will acquire Spirit, and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Spirit of Texas Bank (SSB). The success of the proposed transaction would make Simmons the largest Arkansas bank by asset size.
Spirit is a Texas-based bank holding company that operates 37 locations primarily in the Texas Triangle – consisting of the Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin metropolitan areas. As of Sept. 2021, Spirit had total assets of $3.2 billion, total loans of $2.3 billion and total deposits of $2.7 billion.
The transaction will significantly enhance Simmons’ scale in the Lone Star State and complement the company’s existing footprint while expanding into high-growth metro markets such as Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Corpus Christi and Bryan-College Station.
The transaction consists of a mixture of cash and Simmons’ common stock with an aggregate value of approximately $581 million, based on the Simmons’ closing stock price of $31.73 on Nov. 17, 2021.
Under the terms of the Merger Agreement, shares of Spirit’s common stock and Spirit’s restricted stock units will be converted into the right to receive shares of Simmons’ common stock, and Spirit’s stock options and warrants will be cashed out.
“Spirit is a highly regarded, high performing bank with whom we share a common philosophy – providing outstanding customer service and developing deep and long-lasting relationships with the clients and communities that we serve and where we live,” said George Makris, Jr., Simmons’ Chairman and CEO. “Strengthening our Texas franchise has been a strategic priority and to partner with Spirit not only enhances our current footprint, but also establishes a platform for growth in Houston, Austin, San Antonio and College Station. These markets have been among the fastest growing in the nation in terms of population and economic activity and projections call for this trend to continue. We believe this merger places us in an advantageous position to capture future growth in the Lone Star State.”
Makris added, “In addition to cultural and geographic synergies, the financial metrics of this merger are consistent with our stated M&A parameters and strategy of partnering with high-quality banks within our current footprint that represent an efficient use of our capital and deliver on our commitment of building long-term value for our shareholders. We’re very pleased to welcome our newest partners to the Simmons organization, including Dean Bass, who will join our board shortly after closing as an independent director, and David M. McGuire, who will provide leadership as a key member of our executive team in Texas.”
Dean O. Bass, Chairman and CEO of Spirit, commented, “The foundation of Spirit was built upon offering products and services that meet our customers financial needs and delivering an exceptional customer experience that is supported by a diverse and experienced team who are positioned in some of the most attractive markets in the Heart of Texas. By joining forces with Simmons, we recognize the opportunity to align with a partner that shares our passion for providing high-quality customer service, the increased capacity to lend by leveraging a larger balance sheet and access to a broader array of products and services, including leading-edge digital capabilities. We believe the opportunity to join the Simmons team is very positive for our organization and will provide greater benefits to our customers and the communities we serve.”
The Proposed Transaction culminates an eventful year for Simmons. In October, Simmons completed the acquisitions and conversions of Tennessee based Landmark Community Bank and Triumph Bancshares, Inc., the parent company of Triumph Bank. Based on FDIC deposit market share data as of June 30, 2021, prior to the Landmark and Triumph acquisitions, Simmons Bank ranked as the 11th largest bank in Tennessee. On a pro forma basis (including Landmark and Triumph Bank deposits at June 30, 2021), Simmons Bank now ranks as the 8th largest bank in Tennessee, the 7th largest bank in the Memphis metropolitan area and the 14th largest bank in the Nashville metropolitan area based on FDIC deposit market share data as of June 30, 2021.
The Proposed Transaction, which was approved by the boards of directors of Spirit and Simmons, is subject to approval by Spirit’s shareholders, regulatory approval and other customary closing conditions. Pending the satisfaction of these approvals and other conditions, Simmons expects to close the Proposed Transaction during the second quarter of 2022.
Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company served as financial advisor to Simmons, and Covington & Burling LLP served as Simmons’ legal advisor. Stephens Inc. served as financial advisor to Spirit, and Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP served as Spirit’s legal advisor.