Pocahontas Bancorp to Sell in $76 Million Deal

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Thursday, Jul. 27, 2006 9:21 am  

Iberiabank Corp. of Lafayette, La., said Thursday that it is buying Pocahontas Bancorp Inc. of Jonesboro, the holding company for First Community Bank of Jonesboro, in a deal worth about $76.3 million, or about 1.2 times book value.

The deal, expected to be completed by the end of the year, is subject to regulatory and Pocahontas shareholder approvals.

Iberiabank's purchase price of $76.3 million, based on its Wednesday closing price of $59.10 per share, represents a 33 percent premium on Pocahontas' Wednesday closing price of $12.35.

Shares of Pocahontas (Nasdaq: %%PFSL%%) were trading up about 29 percent Thursday morning to $15.92. Shares of Iberiabank Corp. (Nasdaq: %%IBKC%%) were trading at $58.75 after closing at $59.10 on Wednesday.

"After many years of searching, we are excited to have found the right partner to assist us with our expansion into Arkansas," Daryl G. Byrd, Iberiabank's president and CEO, said in a news release. "First Community Bank has an outstanding board of directors, associates, and client base. We look forward to continuing to grow the organization through developing client relationships."

Byrd said Robert Head, a Jonesboro native, will lead Iberiabank's new Arkansas team.

Pocahontas Bancorp, which relocated to Jonesboro from its namesake hometown in 2001, has reported declining profits the past several years while growth in net income has been the norm for the state's larger lenders the past several years.

Pocahontas has 21 offices in northeast Arkansas. It has four in Jonesboro, three in Pocahontas, two in Paragould and 11 in other Arkansas communities. It also has an office in Broken Arrow, a suburb of Tulsa, Okla.

Iberiabank is the second-largest bank holding company in Louisiana. Established in 1887, Iberiabank operates 48 offices in Louisiana.

Total assets as of March 31 were $2.9 billion compared with $2.7 billion in the same period in 2005. Its net income also rose from $7.9 million for the period that ended March 31, 2005, to $8.9 million in the same period in 2006.

More on the deal is available here.

More on Pocahontas:

Pocahontas Bancorp Tries to Find Its Way



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