First Citizens, CIT To Merge Into $100B US Regional Lender; Shares Spike

Shares in CIT Group popped 27% on Friday after First Citizens BancShares announced that it has entered into an all-stock merger of equals with the national lender to create the 19th largest US bank based on assets.

First Citizens shares jumped 11% to $393.41. Under the terms of the agreement, CIT (CIT) stockholders will receive 0.0620 shares of First Citizens class A common stock for each share of CIT common stock they own. First Citizens stockholders will own about 61% of the combined company and CIT stockholders the remainder. The merger, which is expected to close in the first half of 2021, will create a combined entity with over $100 billion in assets and over $80 billion in deposits.

The deal will bring together First Citizens’ (FCNCA) low-cost retail deposit franchise and full suite of banking products with CIT’s national commercial lending franchise and strong market positions, First Citizens said in a statement.

“We have long admired CIT’s market-leading commercial business, including their strong market position across multiple asset classes. CIT has made tremendous progress in reducing its cost of funds, enhancing risk management processes and retaining key talent,” said First Citizens CEO Frank Holding. “First Citizens has a long history of delivering strong returns to our stockholders, gathering low-cost deposits and driving strong earnings, which are all supported by an exceptional credit culture, strong capital and excellent risk management.”

The transaction is forecast to generate in excess of 50% EPS accretion once cost savings are fully phased in.  The tangible book value per share accretion is targeted to be more than 30% upon closure of the deal. In addition, the two companies have identified approximately 10% in expected pro forma combined noninterest cost savings.

The combined company will operate under the First Citizens name and will trade under its ticker symbol FCNCA on the Nasdaq stock index.  It will be headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., and will maintain significant operation centers in New York, Pasadena, Omaha, Phoenix, Jacksonville, Fla., New Jersey and Columbia, S.C., among other locations.

Shares in CIT have been hit hard, plunging more than 45% this year, but analysts have a cautiously optimistic outlook on the stock. (See CIT stock analysis on TipRanks)

The Moderate Buy analyst consensus breaks down into 2 Buys versus 4 Holds. The $26.50 average price target indicates 6% upside potential over the coming year.

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