Los Angeles Business Journal

East West Buys Banks in San Diego and Texas

By James Rufus Koren Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pasadena’s East West Bancorp. said Wednesday it will acquire a Houston bank holding company in a $273 million deal.

East West will pay $14.60 a share in cash and stock for MetroCorp Bancshares Inc., parent of MetroBank in Houston and Metro United Bank in San Diego. The two banks have combined assets of $1.6 billion. The acquisition would increase East West’s assets to $24.9 billion.

MetroBank has 12 branches in Houston and Dallas, while Metro United has six branches in San Diego, San Francisco, Irvine and the San Gabriel Valley.

The merger will give East West its first location in San Diego and boost its presence in Texas from one branch to 13. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter next year.

“This is a strategic merger that will significantly increase East West’s presence in Houston and allow entry into the Dallas market,” Dominic Ng, East West’s chief executive, said in a statement. “MetroBank and Metro United Bank are both community banks with an attractive base of core retail and commercial customers and strong branch networks.”

Advising the banks on the deal were New York investment bank Sandler O’Neill and Partners, Houston law firm Bracewell & Giuliani, Toronto investment bank RBC Capital Markets and West Los Angeles law firm Manatt Phelps & Phillips.

East West closed down less than 1 percent on Wednesday at $30.14 on the Nasdaq. In after hours trading it fell to $30.13.