BancorpSouth acquires Louisiana-based bank

Thomas Wells | Daily Journal file BancorpSouth announced late Wednesday night that it had reached a merger agreement with Ouachita Bancshares Corp.

Thomas Wells | Daily Journal file
BancorpSouth announced late Wednesday night that it had reached a merger agreement with Ouachita Bancshares Corp.

By Dennis Seid

Daily Journal

TUPELO – It’s been nearly seven years since BancorpSouth Inc. acquired another bank, but that changed late Wednesday.

The Tupelo-based financial holding company, the parent of BancorpSouth Bank, announced it had reached an agreement to acquire West Monroe, La.-based Ouachita Bancshares Corp., and its main subsidiary, Ouachita Independent Bank.

The deal is valued between $99 million to $112 million.

BancorpSouth, with $12.9 billion in assets, last acquired a banking operation in 2007.

In March of that year, it completed its merger with City Bancorp, the parent of The Signature Bank of Springfield, Mo. That deal, first announced in October 2006, added $852 million in assets to BancorpSouth’s portfolio.

The OIB merger, pending regulatory approval and the approval of OIB shareholders, is expected to be completed by the second quarter of this year.

OIB has 12 full-service banking offices in Louisiana, with six in Monroe-West Monroe, four in Shreveport-Bossier City and two in Bastrop. It also has loan production offices in Madison and Natchitoches, La.

As of Dec. 31, the company had more than $652 million in total assets, $477.8 million in loans and $549.7 million in deposits.

Under the merger agreement, BancorpSouth will issue a maximum of 3.6 million shares of common stock plus $22.875 million in cash for the outstanding charges of Ouachita Bancshares.

“This transaction will give us the opportunity to significantly enhance our market share in both the Monroe-West Monroe and Shreveport-Bossier City markets,” said BancorpSouth CEO Dan Rollins. “It will also provide an opportunity to enter the Bastrop market, a market which we’ve not previously served.”

BancorpSouth has 23 branches in Louisiana, including two branches in Monroe and two in West Monroe.

Ouachita Bancshares Corp. was founded by Clyde White, its chairman and former CEO, in 1997.

White, who recently retired from active day-to-day management of OIB, will continue to be chairman of the board of OIB until the merger is completed. Likewise, Kevin Koh will continue to be CEO of OIB until the merger is completed. Afterward, he will become BancorpSouth’s division president with responsibility for Northeast Louisiana markets including Monroe-West Monroe.

dennis.seid@journalinc.com