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Statesboro's Farmers & Merchants Banks to Merge with Dublin's Morris Bank

Morris State Bancshares, Inc. (“Morris”), the parent company of Morris Bank, headquartered in Dublin, Georgia, and FMB Equibanc, Inc.
Morris – FMB Merger

Morris State Bancshares, Inc. (“Morris”), the parent company of Morris Bank, headquartered in Dublin, Georgia, and FMB Equibanc, Inc. (“FMB”), the parent company of Farmers & Merchants Bank, headquartered in Statesboro, Georgia, announced today the signing of a definitive agreement providing for the merger of FMB with and into Morris. Subsequent to the merger, Farmers & Merchants Bank will become a part of Morris Bank. On a pro forma basis, based on September 30, 2018 results, the combined bank will have total assets of approximately $925 million with $725 million in loans and $800 million in deposits, with full-service banking locations in Dublin, Gordon, Gray, Warner Robins, Statesboro, and Brooklet.

“We are excited to partner with Brett Morgan and the FMB team,” said Spence Mullis, President and Chief Executive Officer of Morris Bank. “The FMB franchise is a great cultural fit for us and we look forward to expanding into the Bulloch County market. Their bankers share in Morris Bank’s commitment to the delivery and value of true community banking. That commitment includes treating customers as real folks and not just another account number. We are excited about this opportunity for our teams to combine and grow together throughout middle and southern Georgia.”

Following the close of the transaction, Brett Morgan, FMB’s President and Chief Executive Officer, will lead the Statesboro market. One existing director of FMB will join the Morris holding company board and two existing directors of FMB will join the Morris Bank board. In addition, Morris will form an advisory board for Bulloch County consisting of local business leaders.

Brett Morgan also commented on the announcement, stating, “We have known the Morris team for some time now, and we are pleased to partner with them in this strategic transaction. We are particularly excited about the opportunity available to our combined Georgia operations. Like FMB, Morris Bank values and understands what it means to provide true community banking, with local decision making and high-touch customer service. This will be a great opportunity for success together.”

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, each share of common stock of FMB issued and outstanding immediately prior to the effective time of the transaction will receive shares of Morris common stock, cash, or a combination thereof valuing FMB at $9.25 per share, or $23.6 million in the aggregate.

The boards of directors of Morris and FMB have unanimously approved the transaction. The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals and approval by the FMB and Morris shareholders.  The closing of the transaction is expected to occur in the second quarter of 2019.

Stephens Inc. acted as financial adviser to Morris, and Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP acted as its legal adviser.  FIG Partners, LLC acted as financial adviser to FMB, and Troutman Sanders LLP acted as its legal adviser.