M&A - Mergers and Acquisitions of local interest

Jones Walker & Watkins Ludlam
Headquartered in New Orleans with offices in Lafayette, the Jones Walker law firm is expanding into Mississippi via a merger with Jackson-based Watkins Ludlam. The combination, approved by the shareholders of Watkins Ludlam and the Jones Walker partnership in August, will be effective by Jan. 1, 2012. The combined firm will have more than 375 attorneys. The transaction adds 67 new attorneys, one government relations specialist, and three Mississippi offices in Jackson, Gulfport, and Olive Branch.
Earlier this summer Jones Walker opened a Lafayette office at 1200 Camellia Blvd. Attorneys Dennis L. Doise, John W. Kolwe and Kyle M. Bacon work out of that River Ranch office. The firm also has on office on Jefferson Street downtown, where approximately 20 attorneys work.
Founded in 1937, Jones Walker is one of the largest law firms in the Gulf South. The Watkins Ludlam firm, which got its start in 1905, serves clients in the corporate, banking, construction, financial services, gaming, government relations, public finance, tax and real estate sectors.
“Many Jones Walker clients have business interests in the Mississippi market and across the Gulf South, and we can service them more efficiently with a larger footprint,” said William H. Hines, Jones Walker managing partner.
The law firm will continue under the name of Jones Walker. After the merger is completed, Jones Walker will have 15 offices in six states and the District of Columbia. — Leslie Turk

Cumulus & Citadel
Cumulus Media confirmed in February that it was negotiating with Las Vegas-based Citadel Broadcasting Corp., owner of local radio stations 94.5 KSMB, 99.1 KXKC, 104.7 KNEK and 95.5 KRRQ, to acquire Citadel in a deal valued at about $2.4 billion in cash and stock. On Sept. 16 the publicly traded media giant announced that it had closed the deal. With the completion of the Citadel acquisition, Cumulus says it is the largest pure-play radio broadcaster in the U.S., with more than 570 radio stations in 120 markets and a nationwide radio network serving more than 4,000 stations. Atlanta-based Cumulus expects to pay approximately $1.4 billion in cash and issue approximately 26 million shares of its Class A stock and warrants to purchase 71.7 million shares more to Citadel shareholders. Radio Inc. reported that the Cumulus-Citadel merger marks the end of a tumultuous few years for Citadel that began with its purchase of 22 ABC Radio stations and ABC Radio Networks in 2006. By 2008, a tumbling stock price led to warnings from the New York Stock Exchange and de-listing in March 2009, the magazine noted. Citadel filed for Chapter 11 at the end of 2009, and after reorganization was forced to rescind stock grants to top executives and replace the grants with options after a private equity shareholder filed suit, according to Radio Inc. Cumulus began pursuing Citadel last year but its offers were twice rejected by the Citadel board. In February, Cumulus decided to made the negotiations public. ­— LT

20110928-Abizturkfile-0104
 MidSouth Bank President Rusty Cloutier, right, with First Louisiana’s James Fontenot, center, and Randy P. Angelle

MidSouth Bank & First La. National
MidSouth Bank isn’t stopping in its active role in the region’s acquisition fever, as evidenced by the Aug. 30 announcement that the bank will purchase First Louisiana National Bank, headquartered in Breaux Bridge.

According to a release from MidSouth, the purchase agreement calls for an $11.5 million cash payment and 725,000 shares of MidSouth’s common stock to close the deal, which will add roughly $115 million in assets to MidSouth’s portfolio.

“First Louisiana National Bank is a healthy bank with a strong consumer market franchise,” MidSouth Bank President and CEO Rusty Cloutier says in the release. “We are confident there are tremendous opportunities to increase lending in St. Martin Parish, by leveraging access to MidSouth’s additional products and services, supported by a more technologically advanced banking platform and a much larger network of retail banking centers and ATMs.”

First La. National’s Lafayette location will close and merge with a nearby MidSouth branch on Moss Street. The MidSouth operations center in Breaux Bridge at 728 Berard St. will expand once the acquisition is final, but MidSouth’s Breaux Bridge banking operations will move from its Berard Street location to First La. National’s Mills Avenue branch. First Louisiana National in St. Martinville will remain open after the purchase.

Although MidSouth is headquartered in Lafayette, the regional financial institution is no stranger to the Breaux Bridge/St. Martin market. Cloutier points out that MidSouth’s purchase of Breaux Bridge Bank and Trust in 1987 helped pave the way for the bank’s expansion from a $28 million bank almost 25 years ago to a bank with $1.2 billion in assets as of July 31. — Heather Miller

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