Liberty Bank Paid $23.7 Million for ASB Stake

Perhaps you were aware Arkansas State Bank of Siloam Springs is now part of the Liberty Bank fold.

That cash transaction closed at about $29.7 million, or about two times book value. The purchase was split between two bank holding companies led by Wallace Fowler of Jonesboro.

Liberty Bancshares Inc. paid $23.7 million for an 80 percent stake in ASB's parent company — Arkansas State Bancshares Inc., with total assets of more than $174 million.

The remaining 20 percent was acquired for $6 million by Russellville Bancshares Inc. Arkansas State Bank recorded a $648,000 profit through the first nine months of 2004.

Mixed in with the acquisition (though separate from the aforementioned dollars) was a $10 million cash dividend paid to ASB shareholders.

Arkansas State Bank, now bearing the Liberty name, had a significant amount of excess capital to warrant the large dividend.

Liberty Bank is expanding its northwest Arkansas presence with branches in Bentonville, Fayetteville, Rogers and Springdale now in various stages of completion.

At least three of the four locations are expected to be fully operational this year. A Batesville location will be open in February.

Payday

Who are the ASB shareholders enjoying paydays from the merger/dividend?

It's no surprise the Allen (Canning Co.) family features prominently in the roster.

The list is topped by PetePat Trust, led by Delbert Allen Jr., bank chairman, more than $3.6 million.

Others include H.E. Harrison Jr. and his wife, Cheryl, more than $2.8 million; Roderick and Teresa Allen, more than $2.4 million; Linda Allen Brown, nearly $2.4 million; Allen Grandchildren Trust, more than $2.2 million; the Roderick S. Allen Trust, more than $2.1 million; and Mark Simmons, chairman of Simmons Foods, $794,000.