Simmons First National Corp. of Pine Bluff announced Tuesday that it is acquiring Liberty Bancshares of Springfield, Mo. in a $206.9 million transaction.

Tuesday, Simmons First announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to buy Liberty Bancshares Inc. The acquisition includes Liberty Bancshares Inc.’s wholly owned bank subsidiary Liberty Bank.

Simmons First National Corporation is an Arkansas based financial holding company with pro forma assets totaling $7.8 Billion and conducts financial operations throughout Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and


"We are proud to welcome the associates of Liberty Bank to the Simmons Family. Together, we expect to continue the exceptional growth and quality customer service for which Liberty Bank is known," said George

A. Makris, Jr., Simmons First Chairman and CEO. "Liberty’s expertise in

Small Business lending will enhance our commercial offerings throughout our geographies and will further establish Simmons as a premier community banking organization."

Liberty was ranked the No. 1 Small Business Association lender in Missouri for 2012 and 2013.

As of March 31, Liberty was considered the tenth largest bank headquartered in Missouri by deposits with $1.1 billion in assets, $811 million in loans and $885 million in deposits.

Simmons First has agreed to purchase all outstanding common stock of Liberty in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $206.9 million.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014. It is subject to certain closing conditions, including approval by the shareholders of both Liberty and Simmons First, as well as customary regulatory approvals.

Upon closing, Liberty will merge into Simmons First.

"We are extremely excited about becoming a member of the Simmons family of banks," said Liberty Chairman and CEO, Gary Metzger. "We view this strategic merger as a win, win, win situation. Our customers will benefit from the additional products and services that Simmons will bring to our market; our associates will continue to operate in a banking environment that is focused on relationship banking; and our shareholders will gain liquidity with Simmons’ stock. This will make for a very smooth transition as we merge our two operations next spring."

(Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at