Columbia Bank poised to acquire West Coast Bancorp

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Columbia Banking System, the Tacoma company that operates Walla Walla’s Columbia Bank branch, has approved its merger with West Coast Bancorp.

Under the agreement, Columbia will move forward with its previously announced acquisition of West Coast, based in Lake Oswego, Ore.

According to press reports, Columbia announced its intention to purchase the company last September. Officials reportedly said they would pay West Coast shareholders $264 million in cash and 12.8 million shares of stock. The plan is to eventually operate West Coast under the Columbia name.

“We are excited that shareholders of both companies recognized the significant value created from this combination by approving the merger between Columbia and West Coast,” said Columbia President and Chief Executive Officer Melanie Dressel, in a prepared statement. “We are moving forward to satisfy all necessary closing conditions and look forward to completing the transaction.”

Columbia Banking System, the holding company of Columbia State Bank, has 99 banking offices, including 74 branches in Washington and 25 in Oregon. It does business under the Bank of Astoria name, too. Bank of Astoria has also announced plans to change its name to Columbia Bank.

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