Sandy Spring Bancorp to acquire CommerceFirst

Sandy Spring Bancorp, an Olney-based banking company, said Tuesday it will buy CommerceFirst Bancorp of Annapolis in a cash and stock deal valued at $25.4 million.

Both Sandy Spring, which has $3.6 billion in assets, and CommerceFirst, with $205 million in assets, trade on the Nasdaq stock market. CommerceFirst shareholders will be allowed to choose Sandy Spring common stock or cash, or a combination of both, the companies said.

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2012.

Richard J. Morgan, CommerceFirst's president and chief executive, will join Sandy Spring as market president for the greater Annapolis region, with a focus on expanding the bank's business in Prince George's County.

Sandy Spring has 43 banking offices across Anne Arundel, Carroll, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery and Prince George's counties in Maryland, and in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. CommerceFirst has five locations in Anne Arundel, Howard and Prince George's counties in central Maryland.

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