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North American to Pay $175 Million for Florida’s TIB

North American Financial Holdings, which raised $900 million to buy banks, is acquiring TIB Financial Corp., Florida’s third-biggest listed bank holding company.

North American, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and run by Chief Executive Officer Gene Taylor, a former Bank of America Corp. vice chairman, will pay $175 million for 99 percent of TIB, the Naples-based company said in a statement today. The price equates to 15 cents a share, 78 percent less than today’s closing stock price of 69 cents.

TIB has taken about $89 million in cumulative losses since the start of the financial crisis in 2007, analyst Chris Marinac of FIG Partners LLC in Atlanta said in a telephone interview today. TIB has a 24 percent market share in the Florida Keys, according to a company presentation in May.

“We don’t think Florida is nearly out of the woods relative to its economic situation and there’s still a lot of work to be done, but the time is right to begin that work,” Taylor said in an interview today. “We’ll continue to bid on and hope to win FDIC-assisted transactions along seeking other opportunities.”

Taylor worked at Bank of America for 38 years, including stints heading its Florida business. His last position was as head of commercial and investment banking, reporting to then-CEO Kenneth Lewis. Former Fifth Third Bancorp CFO Chris Marshall is a co-founder of North American.

Board Members

Taylor and Marshall will join TIB’s board, along with R. Bruce Singletary, another ex-Bank of America executive, and Kenneth Posner, a former Morgan Stanley bank analyst, TIB said in today’s statement. Existing management will remain in charge of the bank, including CEO Thomas Longe, who became CEO in May 2008, Taylor said.

Last year, Taylor led an unsuccessful effort to buy First Southern Bank of Boca Raton, Florida, after Fortress Investment Group, Crestview Partners and Lightyear Capital LLC agreed to inject as much as $150 million each. North American’s lead investor is New York’s Crestview Partners.

The North American agreement hinges on reaching an accord with the U.S. over the $37 million in TARP funds received by TIB. The Treasury has not forced buyers of distressed banks to repay all of their TARP funds, a precedent that North America expects to continue, Marshall said.

TIB’s shares sank 2.7 percent to 69 cents at 4:01 p.m. in NASDAQ Stock Market trading.

TIB said on June 11 that it had signed an agreement with former Sky Financial Group Inc. CEO Marty Adams to help the company raise $150 million. North American has no affiliation with Adams’ group, Taylor said.

UBS AG and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz advised North American. Sandler O’Neill & Partners and Smith MacKinnon advised TIB.

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