Florida bankers create holding company, agree to buy Flagship Community

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A group of bankers has formed a holding company as part of a plan to buy Flagship Community Bank in Clearwater, Fla.

West Florida Banking said in a press release Wednesday that it will pay $14.57 a share in cash and stock for the $122 million-asset Flagship. The deal is expected to close by the end of this year.

The new bank’s leadership will include Robert McGivney, a former chairman and CEO at Jefferson Bank of Florida, who will serve as vice chairman and CEO. James Nelson will serve as president and chief operating officer, roles he held at Jefferson Bank.

Paul Wikle will be the bank's chairman.

Jefferson Bank was sold in 2017 to HCBF Holding. CenterState Banks bought HCBF last year.

McGivney said in the release that the market is ready to support a locally managed bank, given recent consolidation.

"We hope to build on that opportunity and grow Flagship into a leading bank in our community," McGivney said.

Monroe Financial Partners and Ed Dougherty advised Flagship. Igler & Pearlman advised West Florida Banking.

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