Execs Quiet on Rumors of Simmons First Buying Delta Trust

Some of our banking sources tell us that Delta Trust & Banking Corp. of Little Rock is in the process of selling.

The would-be buyer?

Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff.

Two sources even came up with the price of $63 million, which is 1.5 times book value for Delta Trust & Bank.

French Hill, the founding chief executive officer of the $422.5 million-asset lender, would only say:

“We don’t comment on transactions that we might do or might not do, and never have in 15 years. So I don’t have a comment.”

David Garner, Simmons’ executive vice president and spokesman, said the bank “can’t discuss anything that we’re working on.” But Garner added, “that’s totally a rumor” that Simmons was buying Delta.

Simmons is in a buying mood.

In November, the publicly traded bank holding company bought Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock for $53.6 million out of the bankruptcy estate of Rogers Bancshares Inc.

And there’s been an appetite for selling over at Delta.

Before his death last June, drug store mogul Steven LaFrance Sr., his family and others were working to assemble a controlling stake.

However, an agreement on price couldn’t be reached.

And, of course, Hill is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Congress from the 2nd District.

Stay tuned.