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Greenville Business Magazine

First Bancorp Accelerates SC Expansion With GrandSouth Bancorporation Acquisition

Jun 21, 2022 04:55PM ● By David Dykes

Southern Pines, N.C.-headquartered First Bancorp (Nasdaq: FBNC), parent company of First Bank, and Greenville, S.C.-based GrandSouth Bancorporation, parent company of GrandSouth Bank, announced June 21, 2022, the signing of a definitive merger agreement under which First Bancorp will acquire GrandSouth in an all-stock transaction with a total current value of $181.1 million, or $31.43 per share, based on First Bancorp's stock price as of June 17, 2022.

The merger agreement, unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company, is expected to close in the late fourth quarter of 2022 or early first quarter of 2023, subject to customary conditions, including GrandSouth shareholder approval and regulatory approval. 

At closing, GrandSouth shareholders will receive 0.910 shares of First Bancorp's common stock for each share of GrandSouth's common and preferred stock.

Company officials said GrandSouth Bank operates eight branches in South Carolina in key towns and cities that match First Bank's desired areas for growth, including Greenville, Fountain Inn, Anderson, Greer, Columbia, Orangeburg, and Charleston. 

With a focus on small business banking, the acquisition complements First Bank's strengths in that area, the officials said.

"GrandSouth is in great communities with talented bankers," said Mike Mayer, president and CEO of First Bank. "Our cultures are very similar and we are excited to bring our teams together."

The combined company is expected to have over $12 billion in assets, $7 billion in loans, and $10 billion in deposits. The transaction represents an opportunity to accelerate First Bank's South Carolina expansion, company officials said.

"We are very excited about this partnership and the unique opportunity it presents," said J.B. Schwiers, president and director of GrandSouth.

"We have long admired First Bancorp, and our combined company will be positioned to capitalize on an enhanced presence in exceptional markets, talent, and financial strength."

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, Inc. served as financial advisor to First Bancorp and Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP provided legal counsel. 

Piper Sandler & Co. served as financial advisor to GrandSouth and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP served as legal counsel.