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First Bancorp (FBP) - Get Free Report  said today that it was signing a definitive merger agreement under which the bank will acquire ASB Bancorp (ASBB) , in a cash and stock transaction with a total current value of approximately $175 million, or $43.12 per share.

The transaction will "solidify" First Bank's position as the leading community bank in North Carolina, the bank said.

The merger agreement has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of each company and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2017.

"Like First Bank, Asheville Savings Bank was also organized in the mid-1930's and has the same long history of service to its customers, its communities and its shareholders. More importantly, the organizational values of Asheville Savings Bank, and its people, align very well with those of First Bank," First Bancorp CEO Richard Moore said.