Washington Federal has agreed to buy Anchor Bancorp of Lacey in a transaction worth about $63.9 million, or $25.75 per share, for Anchor stockholders.
The price represents a slight premium over Anchor stock’s trading level in recent days, but is below the range where shares have been for most of the past three months.
Seattle-based Washington Federal said the deal — to acquire Anchor’s 10 full-service branches and one loan production office — will bring Washington Federal to 248 offices in eight Western states, with total deposits of about $11 billion.
Brent Beardall, president and CEO of Washington Federal, said the transaction “will enhance (its) presence in southwestern Washington by partnering with a bank that has a similar heritage and values.” He said the combination will enable Washington Federal to establish a commercial banking presence in downtown Tacoma.
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By phone, Beardall told The News Tribune that the bank is looking for a downtown Tacoma location and he expects it to open within a year.
“We have never had the right opportunity to get into downtown Tacoma,” Beardall said. “We wanted to get into Tacoma because of its economic vitality. Tacoma is a place where things happen.”
Anchor’s shares closed at $24.80 Wednesday, down 1.17 percent. Washington Federal closed at $32.75, down 1.36 percent.
In a news release, Anchor President and CEO Jerald Shaw said Washington Federal has a solid history of financial performance.
“By joining forces, we believe that we will create a stronger financial partner for the communities served by Anchor and that shareholders will experience better returns and improved liquidity over the long run,” he said. “Clients will benefit from the greater convenience of a larger branch network and greater lending capacity.”
Fred Roebke, vice president of investment securities for Seattle-based stock brokerage firm Martin Nelson & Co. Inc., said his clients own more than 6 percent of Anchor Bank’s shares.
“This deal, in my personal opinion, will be good for long-term investors,” he told The News Tribune on Wednesday. “Washington Federal is one of the best-managed banks in the country.”
More than a year ago, activist investor Joel Lawson IV from Pennsylvania had advocated for a sale of the Lacey-based bank, saying it had underperformed its peers.
Washington Federal spokesman Brad Goode said the company talked with Anchor employees Tuesday night in Lacey about the acquisition, which could make its way through federal regulators by September or October.
Staff writer Kate Martin and The Seattle Times contributed to this report.