Enterprise to buy First Choice in California for $398 million

Enterprise Financial Services in Clayton, Mo., has agreed to buy First Choice Bancorp in Cerritos, Calif.

The $10.2 billion-asset Enterprise said in a press release Monday that it will pay about $398 million in stock for the $2.5 billion-asset First Choice. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

First Choice has eight branches, two loan production offices, $2 billion of loans and $1.9 billion of deposits.

Enterprise, led by CEO Jim Lally, has announced its second bank acquisition in California in the past year.

The deal is expected to be 8% accretive to Enterprise’s 2022 earnings per share, excluding the impact of merger-related expenses. It should take about three years for Enterprise to earn back any dilution to its tangible book value per share.

The acquisition “strengthens our commercial banking foundation in the largest economy in the country,” Jim Lally, Enterprise’s president and CEO, said in the release.

“I have tremendous respect for the associates of First Choice and the company they have built since its founding in 2005,” Lally added. “They have successfully created a commercially-focused community bank with a demonstrated ability to generate organic growth.”

First Choice Chairman Peter Hui will join the Enterprise board.

The acquisition builds on Enterprise’s recent purchase of Seacoast Commerce Banc Holdings in San Diego. That deal closed in November.

Boenning & Scattergood and Holland & Knight advised Enterprise. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Duane Morris advised First Choice.

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