First American moves into Wisconsin market with Kenosha deal – Finance News

on Sep19

18 September 2017 | 6:35 pm

First American Bank is entering Wisconsin’s banking market with a deal to acquire a $275 million-asset bank in Kenosha.

Elk Grove Village-based First American, the largest privately held bank in Illinois, today announced a deal to purchase the parent of Southport Bank. Southport has two branches, one in Kenosha and the other in Salem.

First American didn’t disclose the terms of the deal, which it said is all in cash.

But the price is in the tens of millions based on Southport’s book value of about $30 million. At 1.5 times that level—a conservative estimate—the price would be $45 million.

First American expects the transaction to close early next year.

First American has $3.8 billion in assets and nearly 50 branches in the Chicago area.

CEO Tom Wells has been interested in deal-making. Late last year, he attempted to force a sale of the parent of Community Bank of Oak Park River Forest to First American via a proxy fight. The Oak Park bank’s board successfully resisted the highly unusual move, but the effort showed how aggressive Wells is willing to be to grow First American.

Other Chicago banks have found Wisconsin to be attractive places to expand. Rosemont-based Wintrust Financial has been an active acquirer of small banks just north of the border, and the Toronto-based parent of BMO Harris Bank bought Marshall & Ilsley, Wisconsin’s largest bank, in 2011.

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