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FirstMerit Corp. approves purchase of Michigan bank

Shareholders with an out-of-state financial institution recently approved a plan to acquire the Michigan--based Citizens Bank. Citizens' own shareholders are expected to approve the deal during an upcoming meeting, which would effectively complete the company's sale to FirstMerit Corp.

FirstMerit is hoping the $912 million stock--for--stock purchase, the largest in its history, will allow it to expand further into Michigan and take advantage of Citizens' existing base of clients. The deal marks the firm's first acquisition since 2010 and will make it the sixth largest banking group in the Midwest. All 219 of Citizens' locations in Michigan and surrounding states will be rebranded to reflect their new owner. The transaction is projected to end by June 2013, assuming Citizens approves the deal.

In addition to Citizens' existing offices, FirstMerit will also obtain substantial assets and hundreds of new employees in the deal. According to FirstMerit's chief executive officer and president, the firm will control $19 billion in deposits, $15 billion in loans and approximately $24.5 billion in total assets following the transaction. It will also employ over 5,000 workers across all of its branches. FirstMerit will provide current Citizens shareholders with 1.37 shares of its own stocks for each share of Citizens' common stock.

FirstMerit's shareholders also voted on a number of other agenda items related to the deal. They approved the appointment of 13 new directors for the combined company -- two of whom will come from Citizens Bank, approved compensation packages for the company's top executive and an incentive plan for 2013, and voted in favor of contracting Ernst and Young as FirstMerit's accounting firm.

A Michigan-based finance expert explained that the merger will likely prompt positive change for both companies involved. He said he believes this will be "a win-win" situation for both consumers and shareholders.

Source:, "FirstMerit shareholders approve purchase of Flint-based Citizens Bank," Jeremy Allen, April 5, 2013

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