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Mid-State Bank Buying Smaller Rival Americorp

April 11, 2001|SARAH HALE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

In an effort to broaden its customer base in Ventura County, Mid-State Bancshares said Tuesday that it has purchased Americorp, parent company of American Commercial Bank, for about $63.7 million in stock.

Mid-State said the merger will build on its efforts to increase its Central California presence. The company, based in Arroyo Grande, has 34 offices in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

Mid-State Bank entered the Ventura market in 1999 when it merged with City Commerce Bank. It recently opened a new branch location in Oxnard.

"By expanding into Ventura County, we have the opportunity to increase business and grow without leaving the type of customers we're used to," said James W. Lokey, president of Mid-State Bank.

"We are a community-based bank that thrives on providing a small-town feel."

Lokey said Mid-State views Ventura County as a prime location for growth. Not only is the company planning a headquarters there, but it is also considering new branch locations in Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Newbury Park and Westlake Village.

Lokey also said Mid-State plans to retain the majority of American Commercial Bank's employees.

Mid-State Bancshares, one of California's 10 largest banks, is the parent of Mid-State Bank.

Americorp operates six branches of American Commercial Bank in Ventura County.

Mid-State plans to pay Americorp stockholders $28.75 a share in stock for each of their Americorp shares.

Americorp's shares closed Tuesday at $26.25, up $8.38 in over-the-counter trading. The deal was announced late Monday.

Mid-State shares fell 8 cents to close at $14.62 on Nasdaq.

The transaction, which is awaiting approval from banking regulators and Americorp shareholders, probably will be completed by the end of the third quarter.

Mid-State expects an earnings boost in 2002, Lokey said. As a result of the merger, it will have about $1.7 billion in assets.

A previously approved stock repurchase program for Mid-State Bancshares has been suspended.

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