Sunday, 17 February, 2019

BB&T Corp to buy SunTrust Banks for $28 billion in stock

A BB&T Corp. bank branch in Louisville A BB&T Corp. bank branch in Louisville
Russell Knight | 08 February, 2019, 10:55

BB&T, a bank with deep roots in Lumberton, announced Thursday the merger with large regional bank SunTrust that will create the sixth largest USA bank - a move that raises questions about hundreds of jobs that are local.

RBC and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz advised BB&T while Goldman Sachs along with the investment banking unit of SunTrust and Sullivan & Cromwell advised SunTrust. The financial institution was formed when Trust Company of Georgia merged with SunBanks, Inc.in 1985.

The combined company will be based in Charlotte, North Carolina, its board and management evenly split between BB&T and SunTrust.

The deal, while being called a merger, entails BB&T acquiring SunTrust.

The Winston-Salem-based financial services holding company traces its roots to the post-Civil War era.

BB&T, which has deep roots in Robeson County and employs about 500 people here, will merge with SunTrust, creating the nation's sixth largest bank.

The two banks have hundreds of branches within two miles of each other, but they serve different segments of the market. It now has over $222 billion in assets and operates in 15 states and Washington, D.C.

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Even with the added size, the company will represent only about a third of the lending and deposit portfolios of the largest United States banks such as JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. It has over 1,800 branches and around 37,000 employees.

"It's an extraordinarily attractive financial proposition that provides the scale needed to compete and win in the rapidly evolving world of financial services", BB&T CEO Kelly King said in a statement. King will continue to serve on the Board of Directors of the combined company until the end of 2023.

The transaction, which was described by some leading financial media as a BB&T acquisition of SunTrust, will entail a swap of 1.295 BB&T shares for each share of SunTrust.

A more permissive regulatory environment culminated Thursday in the biggest bank merger since the 2007-2009 financial crisis, and more deals are likely, analysts and investors said.

It will keep a community banking center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where BB&T is based. The banks are planning to complete the transaction by the end of the year - King said he's targeting a September 12 closing, a date chosen because it's his birthday - and aren't anticipating any obstacles. After that, he will serve as executive chairman for six months.

The combined company will remain comfortably under the asset threshold that would make it a systematically important financial institution, sparing it increased regulatory scrutiny. The banks said that they expect the merger will cut their costs by at least $1.6 billion by 2022. Herlihy argued that the Fed was showing a greater propensity to reject community groups' arguments that banks should not be allowed to combine because they had not satisfied their responsibilities under the Community Reinvestment Act.

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