Magazine article American Banker

Associated Banc-Corp on Hunt for M&A Deals, CEO Says

Magazine article American Banker

Associated Banc-Corp on Hunt for M&A Deals, CEO Says

Article excerpt

Byline: Matt Scully

Executives at Associated Banc-Corp in Green Bay, Wis., have spent the last six weeks on the road looking for possible merger and acquisition opportunities, Chief Executive Philip Flynn said Thursday.

The $27 billion-asset company is keen to review efficiency-driven acquisition opportunities, Flynn said during an earnings call after the market close on Thursday.

"We are looking for opportunities in local markets," he said.

The bank in recent years has signaled its interest in pursuing deals. Associated announced this week that it had agreed to pay as much as $56 million for insurance brokerage firm Ahmann & Martin. Flynn has described the company's attitude toward M&A as cautious, though analysts believe there is potential for a large deal, possibly in Chicago.

Bank M&A activity gained steam in the second half of last year and sellers are fetching better prices. The median price to tangible book value for deals announced last year, according to FIG Partners, was 133.5%, versus 121% in 2013.

Royal Bank of Canada announced on Thursday plans to buy Los Angeles-based City National for $5.4 billion, in a move designed to scoop up a bigger share in U.S. wealth management. That deal would be the largest whole-bank acquisition in more than three years.

Other banks are voicing an appetite for dealmaking. The $6 billion-asset Pinnacle Financial Partners in Nashville, Tenn., is open to more M&A activity as well, CEO Terry Turner told investors Wednesday, hinting that his company may already be in preliminary discussions for a deal. …

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