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Officials with two state banks came together in downtown Little Rock on Tuesday afternoon to announce the companies will merge.

The Conway-based Home BancShares, Inc. will buy Liberty Bancshares, a Jonesboro-based bank in the largest ever in-state bank merger. The acquisition is expected to close late in the third quarter or early in the fourth quarter of 2013.

“[This is] the most significant business transaction of my career,” John W. Allison, Home BancShares chairman of the board, said.

Governor Mike Beebe was on-hand for the news conference at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce.

Home BancShares, which owns Centennial Bank, currently holds $4.2 billion in assets and has about 110 Arkansas branches. Liberty Bancshares has $2.8 billion in assets and about 45 branches in Arkansas.

When Allison and Wallace Fowler, Liberty Bancshares chairman of the board and CEO, unveiled the map showing branch locations of both banks, they noted there were only two overlapping locations — Morrilton and Searcy.

Read more about this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Home BancShares, Liberty Bancshares announce merger

Home BancShares and Liberty Bancshares announced a merger Tuesday afternoon at a news conference, forming the largest merger of in-state banks in state history. (By Jeanette Anderton)
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