First Bancorp hastens South Carolina expansion with $181 million deal

First Bancorp in Southern Pines, North Carolina, inked a $181.1 million, all-stock deal to acquire GrandSouth Bancorp in Greenville, South Carolina.

The acquisition, slated to close late this year or early next, would accelerate the $10.5 billion-asset First Bancorp’s expansion in South Carolina, executives said in a release after the market closed Tuesday.

First Bancorp operates in North Carolina and South Carolina, and it has made added scale in the latter a priority. It has about 110 branches, though less than 10% of its physical footprint is in South Carolina.  

The $1.3 billion-asset GrandSouth has eight branches in Greenville and neighboring South Carolina markets. Like First Bancorp, it focuses on small- and mid-sized business banking.

“GrandSouth is in great communities with talented bankers,” Mike Mayer, First Bancorp president, said in the release. “Our cultures are very similar, and we are excited to bring our teams together.”

Upon completion of the acquisition, the combined company expects to have about $12 billion of assets, $7 billion of loans and $10 billion of deposits.

The buyer estimated earnings per share accretion in the high-single-digit percentage range, assuming 30% cost savings fully phased in during 2024. First Bancorp estimated tangible book value dilution in a mid-single-digit percentage range, with an earn-back period of three years.

Two members of GrandSouth’s board will be appointed to the boards of First Bancorp and its bank unit when the deal closes.

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