Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

It’s official: Sterling Financial being bought for $2 billion

Staff and wire services
Spokane-based Sterling Financial Corp. is being bought for $2 billion in a merger deal that will make Umpqua Holdings Corp. the West Coast’s largest community banking chain. The merger will give Umpqua about $22 billion in assets, $15 billion in loans and $16 billion in deposits, with 5,000 associates and 394 stores across five states – Oregon, Washington, Idaho, California and Nevada. Umpqua and Sterling have also agreed to establish a $10 million community foundation. Upon completion of the merger, the company will operate under the Umpqua Bank name and brand. Umpqua Holdings Corporation will continue to be led by Ray Davis as president and CEO. Sterling president and CEO Greg Seibly will join Umpqua Bank as co-president, with Umpqua Bank co-president Cort O’Haver serving in the same capacity. “Together, Umpqua and Sterling will create something unique in the financial services industry, an organization that offers the products and expertise of a large bank but delivers them with the personal service and commitment of a community bank,” said Davis. “With our size, shared cultures and financial strength, our combined organization will be uniquely positioned to deliver value for our associates, customers, communities and shareholders. We look forward to starting the process of bringing our companies together.” “Sterling has emerged from its 2010 recapitalization a stronger, more profitable bank,” said Greg Seibly, president and CEO of Sterling Financial Corporation. “Over the past ten quarters we have consistently demonstrated a trend of improved profitability because of our employees’ unwavering commitment to their customers and their communities. We admire Umpqua’s shared commitment to community banking and look forward to working with them to create one of the strongest, most innovative community banks in the country.” The boards of directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction. Upon completion, the combined Company’s board will have 13 directors, comprised of nine representatives from Umpqua and four representatives from Sterling. Peggy Fowler will continue as board chair. Funds affiliated with Thomas H. Lee Partners, L.P. (“THL”) and Warburg Pincus (“WP”), the two largest shareholders of Sterling, each owning approximately 20.8% of Sterling’s outstanding common stock, have agreed to vote in favor of and fully support the transaction, and THL and WP have the right to designate a representative of each firm to serve on the board of directors of the combined company following closing. David Coulter, WP’s Vice Chairman, said, “We have been very pleased with what Sterling has achieved since we made our investment in 2010, and are delighted with the decision to combine with Umpqua. Umpqua has a long record of achievement and creating shareholder value, and together with Sterling will create what we believe will be the leading community bank in the West.” Josh Bresler, Managing Director at THL, said, “The great potential that initially attracted us to making a significant investment in Sterling three years ago has been realized through the successful efforts of Greg Seibly and the entire Sterling team, and the merger with Umpqua is the logical next step for Sterling. The merger pairs two companies with exceptional management teams and franchises, and we believe it will create substantial value for us and all of the shareholders of both companies.” Under the terms of the agreement, Sterling shareholders will receive 1.671 shares of Umpqua common stock and $2.18 cash for each share of Sterling common stock. The total value of the Sterling merger consideration, based on the closing price of Umpqua shares on September 11, 2013 of $16.96, is $30.52. The transaction is intended to qualify as a tax-free reorganization for U.S. federal income tax purposes and Sterling shareholders are not expected to recognize any taxable gain or loss in connection with the share exchange to the extent of the stock consideration received. Giving effect to the transaction, existing shareholders of Umpqua are expected to own approximately 51% of the outstanding shares of the combined company at closing, and Sterling shareholders are expected to own approximately 49%. Umpqua expects the acquisition to be 12% accretive to 2015 operating earnings per share with 100% of synergies phased in. Tangible book value per common share is expected to be diluted by 4.6% at closing, with a two-and-one-half year earnback on a proforma basis. Completion is expected during the first half of 2014, and is subject to approval by each company’s shareholders, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions.