Magazine article American Banker

Calif.'s Aggressive Western Bancorp Racks Up Another Buyout Deal

Magazine article American Banker

Calif.'s Aggressive Western Bancorp Racks Up Another Buyout Deal

Article excerpt

Southern California's Western Bancorp announced its fourth acquisition deal since February 1996, positioning itself to become the eighth-largest bank based in the state.

The Laguna Niguel-based company would pay $198.6 million in cash and stock for $672 million-asset Santa Monica Bank. The price is about 2.5 times book value and 20 times earnings.

The deal, expected to close in January, would give Western the dominant market share in Santa Monica, a ritzy suburb west of Los Angeles. Santa Monica Bank and Western Bank would be merged to form a $1.1 billion-asset state-chartered bank; the new entity would retain the Santa Monica name and have the third-largest share in all its markets.

Western Bancorp would have $2.1 billion of assets and 34 branches in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

"The combination with Santa Monica Bank is a continuation of Western's evolution as the premier community bank in California," said Western's chairman and chief executive officer, Hugh S. Smith.

Western Bancorp, which has rapidly evolved into a bank-eating machine, earlier announced plans to buy Anaheim-based SC Bancorp, the $500 million-asset parent of Southern California Bank. That acquisition, which received regulatory approval last week, is slated to close in early October.

Southern California Bank would be merged into Newport Beach-based National Bank of Southern California, which Western acquired when its purchase of California Commercial Bankshares closed in June. …

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