MUNCIE - The parent of Muncie-based MutualBank will soon be under new ownership. Pennsylvania-based Northwest Bancshares Inc. (Nasdaq: NWBI) has announced plans to acquire MutualFirst Financial Inc. (Nasdaq: MFSF) in an all-stock deal valued at approximately $346 million. 

As a result of the acquisition, MutualFirst President and Chief Executive Officer David Heeter will become regional CEO and market leader for Northwest's Indiana franchise, according to the company. Additionally, MutualBank Senior Vice President of Commercial Banking Christopher Caldwell and MutualFirst Chief Financial Officer Christopher Cook will continue on the leadership team for the Indiana market.

"Indiana is an attractive market with a business friendly environment which we have targeted as part of our Mid-Atlantic and Midwest expansion plans," said Ronald Seiffert, CEO of Northwest Indiana Bancshares. "MutualFirst represents a unique and sizable opportunity that is highly accretive to both Northwest's franchise value and shareholder value. Maintaining MutualFirst's executive management team and the presence of similar cultures allows us to consistently serve the customer base with little to no disruption."

The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. Per the terms of the deal, MutualFirst shareholders will receive 2.4 shares of Northwest common stock for each share of MutualFirst stock they own. One member of the MutualFirst Board of Directors will also be added to Northwest's bank and holding company boards.

The merger is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2020, pending regulatory and MutualFirst shareholder approvals, as well as customary closing conditions.