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Ameris Bancorp Announces Acquisition Of Coastal Bankshares, Inc.

MOULTRIE, Ga. and SAVANNAH, Ga., March 11, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameris Bancorp ("Ameris"), the parent company of Ameris Bank, announced today the signing of a definitive merger agreement under which Ameris will acquire Coastal Bankshares, Inc. ("Coastal"), the parent company of The Coastal Bank, Savannah, Georgia.  As of December 31, 2013, Coastal reported assets of $433 million, loans of $295 million, and deposits of $364 million.  Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company will have approximately $4.1 billion in assets, $2.8 billion in loans, $3.4 billion in deposits and a branch network of 74 banking locations across four states. 

Ameris Bancorp logo.

The acquisition significantly enhances Ameris's current franchise in the greater Savannah marketplace.  Coastal currently operates six branches, five of which are concentrated in the Savannah, Georgia Metropolitan Statistical Area ("MSA") and one of which is located in the Hinesville, Georgia MSA.  Coastal also operates mortgage loan production offices in Richmond Hill and Statesboro, Georgia.  After the acquisition, Ameris will advance from twelfth to fifth in deposit market share in the Savannah market.

"We are excited to announce our merger with Coastal and are looking forward to welcoming the Coastal team to Ameris," said Edwin W. Hortman, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Ameris.  "We believe our combined efforts in the Savannah market will result in even greater service for our customers." 

"Coastal Bank is pleased to form a partnership with Ameris.  We believe this combination serves the best interest of our shareholders, customers, employees and community," commented James A. LaHaise, President and Chief Executive Officer of Coastal. "We view Ameris as one of the leading community banks in both Georgia and the Southeast.  The compatible nature of our cultures will provide great benefits to the Savannah banking market."

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Coastal shareholders will receive 0.4671 shares of Ameris common stock for each share of Coastal common stock.  The transaction is valued at approximately $36.7 million in the aggregate, or $10.00 per Coastal share, based on Ameris's average closing stock price of $21.41 for the three days ending March 7, 2014. 

The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the board of directors of each company.  The transaction is expected to close early in the third quarter of 2014 and is subject to customary closing conditions, regulatory approvals and approval by Coastal shareholders.

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