Webster (WBS) & Sterling (STL) Merger Gets Stockholders’ Nod


Advancing with the merger deal, Webster Financial Corporation (WBS Quick QuoteWBS ) and Sterling Bancorp (STL Quick QuoteSTL ) have received respective shareholder approval for the all-stock merger betwee n the two companies. The transaction, announced this April, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021 subject to regulatory consents.

The chairman, president and CEO of Webster, John R. Ciulla, remarked, “I am very pleased that our stockholders overwhelmingly support bringing together two high performing companies, as it provides a compelling opportunity to create value for our stakeholders.”

The president and CEO of Sterling, Jack L. Kopnisky, noted, “With this milestone, we are one step closer to creating a uniquely focused Commercial bank, we are excited about what the future holds for the combined company.”

Webster Bank, National Association and Sterling National Bank, the respective subsidiary banks of Webster and Sterling have also been granted approvals from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, to merge, as part of the merger between Webster and Sterling.

Per the terms of the deal announced in April, shareholders of Sterling will get 0.46 of share of Webster Financial common stock for each share of Sterling. Thus, following the closure, Sterling shareholders will own 49.6% of Webster Financial.

After the deal’s conclusion, Sterling will be merged into Webster Financial, and the combined company will retain the Webster Financial name. The combined entity is likely to have $63 billion in assets and $52 billion in deposits.

As per the previous disclosure, post completion of the deal, the combined firm is estimated to generate a return on average assets and return on average tangible common equity of 1.40% and 17%, respectively. Further, it will lead to cost savings of almost $120 million and generate $440 million of excess capital per year.

The deal is expected to be accretive to GAAP earnings in 2021, with more than 20% and 10% to Webster Financial and Sterling shareholders, respectively.

Our Take

In the current scenario, banks are moving toward consolidation to dodge the heightened costs of regulatory compliance and increased investments in technology in a bid to be competitive. The present low interest-rate scenario and other economic challenges following the pandemic have taken a toll on banks’ profitability.

The merger is likely to strengthen Webster’s commercial banking, health savings and consumer and digital banking business. Notably, shares of Webster have fallen 5.2%, against 5.1% gain recorded by shares of Sterling, over the past six months.

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Currently, both Webster and Sterling carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Similarly, recently this August, shareholders of New York Community Bancorp, Inc. (NYCB Quick QuoteNYCB ) and Flagstar Bancorp, Inc. (FBC Quick QuoteFBC ) approved the proposed all-stock merger deal between the two companies. The transaction, also announced this April, is anticipated to close in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to regulatory consents. The merger is likely to boost the New York Community Bancorp’s transformation strategies through geographical as well as product diversification.

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