BB&T And SunTrust To Combine In "Merger Of Equals"

Thursday, February 7, 2019

SunTrust Banks, Inc. and BB&T Corporation announced Thursday that both companies' boards of directors have unanimously approved a definitive agreement to combine in an all-stock merger of equals valued at approximately $66 billion. The combined company will be the sixth-largest U.S. bank based on assets and deposits.

SunTrust has long had a strong presence in Chattanooga after acquiring the former American National Bank.

The SunTrust Bank Building (formerly American National Bank Building) is a fixture on Market Street.

The pro forma company will have approximately $442 billion in assets, $301 billion in loans, and $324 billion in deposits serving more than 10 million households in the United States, with leading market share in many of the most attractive, high-growth markets in the country.

The incremental scale positions the new company to achieve industry-leading financial and operating metrics with the strongest return profile among its peers.

In a reflection of the equal contribution both banks bring to the new institution, the combined company will operate under a new name and brand, which will be determined prior to closing. The combined company's board of directors and executive management team will be evenly split between the two institutions. A new corporate headquarters will be established in Charlotte, NC, including an Innovation and Technology Center to drive digital transformation. In the current home markets for both companies, the combined company will maintain the Community Banking Center in Winston-Salem, NC and the Wholesale Banking Center in Atlanta, GA. This continued strong presence is also supported by the combined company's commitment to increase the respective banks' current levels of community investment. 

GAAP and Cash EPS accretion per BB&T share in 2021 is expected to be approximately 13% and 17%, respectively (based on Street estimates). GAAP and Cash EPS accretion per SunTrust share in 2021 is expected to be approximately 9% and 16%, respectively (based on Street estimates). SunTrust shareholders will receive a 5% increase in their dividend upon consummation of the transaction based upon each Company's current dividend per share. Under the terms of the merger agreement, SunTrust shareholders will receive 1.295 shares of BB&T for each SunTrust share they own. BB&T shareholders will own approximately 57% and SunTrust shareholders will own approximately 43% of the combined company.

"This is a true merger of equals, combining the best of both companies to create the premier financial institution of the future," said BB&T Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kelly S. King. "It's an extraordinarily attractive financial proposition that provides the scale needed to compete and win in the rapidly evolving world of financial services. Together with Bill's leadership and our new SunTrust teammates, we're going to bring the best of both companies forward to serve our clients and communities."

William H. Rogers, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SunTrust, said, "By bringing together these two mission- and purpose-driven institutions, we will accelerate our capacity to invest in transformational technologies for our clients. Our shared culture embraces the disruption of technology and we will take this innovative mindset to expand our leadership in the next chapter of these historic brands. With our geographic position, enhanced scale and leading financial profile, these two companies will achieve substantially more for clients, teammates, associates, communities, and shareholders than we could alone. I have tremendous respect for Kelly, his leadership team and the BB&T associates. We will leverage our respective strengths as we focus together on the future."

Officials listed "Strategic and Financial Benefits of the Proposed Merger":

  • Strong Cultural Alignment: The combined company will preserve and maintain the strong cultures of both BB&T and SunTrust to deliver superior client service and preserve the community bank model to maintain close ties to shared local communities. With its stronger position, it will also deliver a collective set of training, leadership, and development programs to attract and retain the industry's top talent across its expanded career opportunities.
  • Leading Financial Profile and Operating Metrics: The combined company will be well positioned to achieve industry-leading financial and operating metrics with the strongest return profile amongst its peers. The expected benefits of the transaction include a pro forma efficiency ratio of 51%, peer best ROATCE of 22% and projected tangible book value per share accretion at close for BB&T shareholders of approximately 11%, or 6% fully accounting for one-time merger charges. The merger is expected to generate an internal rate of return of approximately 18%.
  • Increased Profitability and Scale to Drive New Innovations: The combined company will take advantage of its enhanced scale to focus on selecting best of breed systems and processes and making significant investments in technology to create a sustainable competitive advantage in an increasingly digital-first world.
  • Revenue Growth Through Complementary Businesses: The combined company will leverage its complementary businesses to generate additional revenue opportunities through BB&T's Community Banking and insurance operation and SunTrust's leading middle market corporate & investment banking business and digital consumer lending platform.
  • Significant cost synergies: Expected to deliver approximately $1.6 billion in annual net cost synergies by 2022. The primary sources of cost savings are expected to be in facilities, information technology/systems, shared services, retail banking and third-party vendors.

Kelly S. King, chairman and chief executive officer of BB&T and its bank subsidiary, will serve as chairman and chief executive officer of the combined company and its bank subsidiary until Sept. 12, 2021, after which time he will serve as executive chairman of both entities until March 12, 2022. He will continue to serve on the board of directors of the combined company until the end of 2023.

William H. Rogers, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of SunTrust, will serve as president and chief operating officer of the combined company and its bank subsidiary until Sept. 12, 2021, at which time he will become chief executive officer of the combined company and its bank subsidiary. He will also hold a seat on the combined company's board of directors through his position as president and chief operating officer and then chief executive officer. On March 12, 2022, he will also become chairman and chief executive officer of the combined company and its bank subsidiary.

Upon the closing of the transaction, the board of directors of the combined company will consist of members equally split between BB&T and SunTrust's current directors. David M. Ratcliffe, current Lead Director of SunTrust, will serve as lead director of the combined company until March 12, 2022 after which the Lead Director will be a legacy BB&T director.

The combined company's executive management team will be comprised equally from SunTrust and BB&T. They include Chris Henson, Clarke Starnes (Chief Risk Officer), Daryl Bible (Chief Financial Officer), Allison Dukes, Brant Standridge, David Weaver, Dontá Wilson, Ellen Fitzsimmons, Ellen Koebler, Hugh (Beau) Cummins, Joseph Thompson and Scott Case.

The merger is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of customary regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of each company.

RBC Capital Markets served as financial advisor and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz served as legal counsel to BB&T in this transaction. Goldman Sachs and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey served as financial advisors and Sullivan & Cromwell served as legal counsel to SunTrust in this transaction.


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