BB&T; Corp. will buy FCNB for $226.5 million


BB&T; Corp., an aggressive regional banking company that has been growing rapidly in Maryland, said yesterday that it has agreed to buy Frederick-based FCNB Corp. in a stock swap valued at $226.5 million.

The deal gives the Winston-Salem N.C.-based banking company $1.6 billion in assets and 34 bank branches located primarily in Frederick and Montgomery counties. The company also vaults from sixth to first place in market share in Frederick, Howard and Carroll counties.

"I think it is a positive ... typical deal for BB&T;," said John Wimsatt, a bank analyst at Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co. in Roslyn, Va.

"I don't look at it as a franchise changing deal for them. It is more of a continuation of an existing strategy," he said.

The acquisition, which was backed by directors of both companies, is valued at $18.13 per FCNB share based on BB&T;'s Wednesday closing price of $25.

The deal is subject to approval by FCNB shareholders and banking regulators. It is expected to close sometime early next year.

Shares of BB&T; closed at $24.875, down 12.5 cents, and FCNB's shares ended the day at $17.4375, down $2.4375.

BB&T;, which has $55.2 billion in assets and operates 831 branches in seven states and Washington, has had a voracious appetite for community banks just like FCNB.

This latest transaction marks the third time in the past 21 months that BB&T; bought a Maryland banking company.

John Allison, BB&T;'s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement that the acquisition will help the company "expand our presence in the economically vibrant markets of central Maryland and metropolitan Washington, D.C."

A. Patrick Linton, president and chief executive of FCNB, which is 182 years old, will become president of BB&T;'s new Frederick-based community bank region. He will also work as a BB&T; liaison with statewide organizations and the Maryland legislature.

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