Sunday, May 26, 2024

Business First Bancshares, Inc. to Expand Market Presence with Acquisition of Oakwood Bancshares, Inc.

by BIZ Magazine

Business First Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ: BFST), the parent company of b1BANK, has announced its plans to acquire Oakwood Bancshares, Inc. and its wholly-owned bank subsidiary, Oakwood Bank, in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $85.7 million. The acquisition is poised to bolster b1BANK’s presence in the Dallas market and significantly enhance its position in Texas.

The transaction, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2024. Upon completion, Business First’s consolidated total assets are projected to reach approximately $7.4 billion, with over $5.6 billion in total loans. The acquisition will see b1BANK adding four full-service banking centers in Dallas, along with one each in Oakwood and Snyder, Texas.

Jude Melville, Acting Chairman, President, and CEO of Business First, expressed confidence in the strategic significance of the acquisition, stating, “Expansion in the Dallas market has been a successful focus of b1BANK for a number of years. We believe the proposed transaction with Oakwood is an effective and efficient way to deepen our customer, employee, and shareholder bases in what is arguably one of America‚Äôs strongest markets.”

Roy J. Salley, Chairman and CEO of Oakwood Bank, echoed Melville’s sentiments, emphasizing the mutual benefits of the merger. “The transaction will accelerate our ability to grow within the Dallas market and creates an exciting opportunity for our shareholders and employees,” Salley remarked.

Under the terms of the agreement, Business First will issue approximately 3,973,469 shares of its common stock to Oakwood shareholders, representing approximately 13.5% ownership in the combined entity. Following the completion of the transaction, Roy J. Salley will join b1BANK as Regional Chairman, Dallas, while William G. Hall, Chairman of Oakwood Bancshares, Inc., will be appointed to the boards of directors of Business First and b1BANK.

Raymond James & Associates, Inc. provided a fairness opinion to Business First, while Stephens Inc. acted as exclusive financial advisor and rendered a fairness opinion to Oakwood.

For more information on the proposed transaction, interested parties can access an Investor Presentation on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) website and Business First’s official website.

About Business First Bancshares, Inc.:
Business First Bancshares, Inc., through its banking subsidiary b1BANK, operates Banking Centers and Loan Production Offices across Louisiana and the Dallas and Houston, Texas areas. The company provides commercial and personal banking products and services, including commercial loans, working capital lines, equipment financing, and treasury management services.

About Oakwood Bancshares, Inc.:
Oakwood Bancshares, Inc. is the parent company of Oakwood Bank, a Texas banking association offering a full range of banking products and services across six full-service branch locations in the Dallas, Oakwood, and Snyder, Texas market areas. As of December 31, 2023, Oakwood Bank reported $843 million in total assets and $654 million in total loans.

For further information, visit Business First Bancshares, Inc. at www.b1BANK.com and Oakwood Bancshares, Inc. at www.oakwoodbank.com.

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