First Financial to Acquire MainSource For $1B

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(photo courtesy MainSource Bank) (photo courtesy MainSource Bank)
GREENSBURG -

Greensburg-based MainSource Financial Group Inc. (Nasdaq: MSFG) is merging with Ohio-based First Financial Bancorp (Nasdaq: FFBC) in a $1 billion deal. The banks say the merger will create a $13 billion institution. The combined operation will move forward under the First Financial name and be headquartered in Cincinnati. As part of the merger, the companies say they will develop a comprehensive community development plan, which will include $1 million in community support and "a commitment of 100 jobs" in Greensburg.

The banks call the merger "an ideal strategic, financial and operational fit" that will create a preeminent community bank serving Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. They say MainSource's recent $60 million acquisition of FCB Bancorp will allow them to enter the Louisville market.

The chief executive officers of both banks will play leadership roles in the combined operation. MainSource CEO Archie Brown will will take the role as president and CEO of First Financial. Current First Financial CEO Claude Davis will serve a three-year term as executive chairman before transitioning to non-executive chairman in 2021.

The transaction still needs the approval of both First Financial and MainSource shareholders as well as regulatory approvals. The banks expect the deal to close in 2018. The deal will result in First Financial shareholders owning about 63 percent of the combined company, with MainSource shareholders owning about 37 percent.

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