Susquehanna shareholders to vote March 13

By on February 13, 2014

Susquehanna Bancshares has set a date for a shareholder vote on whether to approve BB&T Corp’s acquisition offer.

The Lititz-based bank has scheduled a March 13 vote.

Shareholder approval would move the take-over progression &tstr; which started in November &tstr; to the next process of obtaining approval from federal banking regulators.

Susquehanna announced the date of the shareholder vote in its latest proxy statement filed Jan. 22 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

North Carolina-based BB&T’s offered on Nov. 12 to acquire Susquehanna Bancshares, the company that owns Susquehanna Bank, for $2.5 billion, including $750 million in cash and the rest distributed in BB&T stocks.

With 30 branches and about 900 employees in Lancaster County, Susquehanna Bank commands almost 26 percent of the deposit market share and ranks as the largest bank in the county. It also has 18 branches in York, 16 in Harrisburg and 58 in Philadelphia.

The future of Susquehanna’s three-block property and its current corporate building in downtown Lititz remains uncertain.

BB&T has noted that all “customer-facing” staff will be retained but acknowledged layoffs will occur in the company’s “back-office” operations. It has not provided an estimate how many jobs would be lost.

BB&T plans to eliminate about $160 million in Susquehanna expenses annually. How those cuts will happen is not defined.

All Susquehanna branches will be retained, although they will be renamed BB&T. No branches are being closed because the Susquehanna and BB&T branch networks do not overlap.

The acquisition is expected to boost BB&T to the fifth largest deposit market share in the areas in which Susquehanna Bank operates, behind Wells Fargo, PNC, Toronto-Dominion and M&T.

BB&T has noted there would be no “significant” increase in the fees charged by Susquehanna.

According to the proxy statement, Susquehanna shareholders would receive 0.253 shares of BB&T common stock and $4.05 cash for each Susquehanna common share.

“Based on the number of shares of Susquehanna common stock outstanding on January 20, 2015, we expect that the payment of the stock portion of the merger consideration will require BB&T to issue approximately 46,062,943 shares of BB&T common stock in connection with the merger,” the proxy statement noted.

BB&T, which expects to complete the deal by the early third quarter of 2015, would issue new credit cards, debit cards and account numbers to the current Susquehanna customers.

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455.

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