Camp Hill-based LinkBancorp has struck a deal that will extend its footprint into Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.
- The bank said yesterday it has agreed to a “merger of equals” with Partners Bancorp, a Salisbury, Maryland-based bank with a long history in the Delmarva region.
- The all-stock deal is valued at $167.8 million, according to a press release.
- “This is a great deal for both parties and it certainly creates a major franchise in the Mid-Atlantic area,” Andrew Samuel, CEO and vice chairman of LinkBancorp, said in an interview.
- Samuel, who helped launch LinkBancorp in 2018, would be CEO of the merged institution, which is expected to take the LinkBancorp name.
Why is this happening: LinkBancorp, which does business as LinkBank, has been looking to expand southward since raising more than $30 million in capital last year.
- The merger with Partners adds branches in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia.
- The combined bank would have about 30 branches overall, more than 250 employees and roughly $3 billion in assets, Samuel said.
- LinkBancorp’s last merger was its 2021 union with GNB Financial Services, the Dauphin County-based parent of The Gratz Bank.
- LinkBank now has 10 branches in Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin and Lancaster counties, as well as a loan office in York County.
- The bank had assets of $1.16 billion as of Dec. 31.
What is Partners: The bank traces its roots to the 1896 founding of The Bank of Delmarva.
- Partners now operates two main subsidiaries, The Bank of Delmarva and Virginia Partners Bank, which was established in 2008.
- Based in Seaford, Delaware, The Bank of Delmarva has 11 branches in Delaware and Maryland, as well as three South Jersey branches operating as Liberty Bell Bank.
- Based in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Virginia Partners Bank has three offices in Fredericksburg and one in Reston.
- It also has a branch and a loan production office in Maryland that operate as Maryland Partners Bank. The branch is in La Plata, while the loan office is in Annapolis.
- Virginia Partners holds a controlling interest in Johnson Mortgage Co. LLC, a residential mortgage lender based in Newport News, Virginia, with offices in Fredericksburg and Williamsburg.
- Partners had total assets of $1.57 billion as of Dec. 31.
What’s the deal. Under the terms of the proposed merger, shareholders of Partners would receive shares in LinkBancorp.
- As a result, Partners shareholders would own 56% of the merged company, with LinkBancorp shareholders holding the remaining 44%.
- The board would have 22 members: 12 from LinkBancorp and 10 from Partners.
- The chair would be Joseph Michetti Jr., LinkBancorp’s current chair.
- The vice chair would be Jeffrey Turner, current chair of Partners. Turner would become chair in September 2024.
- The merged bank would operate under the LinkBank name with headquarters in Camp Hill.
- Executives at Partners would head up regional markets in Delmarva, Northern Virginia and Greater Fredericksburg.
- LinkBancorp’s execs — including LinkBancorp president Carl Lundblad and LinkBank president Brent Smith — would stay in their roles.
- Stephens Inc. is the financial adviser for LinkBancorp. Its legal adviser is Luse Gorman PC.
- Piper Sandler & Co. is the financial adviser for Partners, while Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP is the legal adviser
What’s next: The banks have scheduled a conference call to discuss the proposed merger at 10 a.m. on Feb. 23.
- The merger is expected to close in the third quarter this year, pending regulatory and shareholder approvals,