BancWest to Acquire SierraWest Bancorp

From Bloomberg News

BancWest Corp., parent company of First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of the West, said it agreed to buy SierraWest Bancorp for $194 million in stock, boosting its presence in Northern California and Nevada.

Honolulu-based BancWest will exchange 0.82 share for each SierraWest share, valuing SierraWest at $35.26 a share, a 22% premium to today's closing price of 28 7/8.

SierraWest, with assets of $879 million, will add 20 bank branches to Bank of the West, which has 143 branches in Northern California, Oregon, Washington and Idaho. The combined units will have $8.6 billion in assets. BancWest Corp. has $15 billion in assets.

The companies want the transaction to be accounted for as a pooling of interests, which lets companies combine their books without recording merger-related write-offs that can cut future earnings.

The acquisition is expected to close this summer and won't have an impact on BancWest's per-share earnings in 1999, the bank said.

Shares in BancWest fell 1 to 43 today. The transaction was announced after the close of U.S. markets.

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