Mergers and Acquisitions

With deal news from Baycom Broadband and TheGlobalNet, and First Wisconsin Bank & Trust

Green Bay communications companies merge
In a merger of two Green Bay companies, Baycom Broadband, a provider of wireless communications solutions, has acquired TheGlobalNet, a wireless internet service provider.

The acquisition expands the Baycom Broadband Network to reach into three additional counties and more than 400 square miles of coverage throughout rural Wisconsin. TheGlobalNet has served customers in Brown, Manitowoc, Outagamie and Kewaunee counties.

"Our goal is simple; provide the most reliable high-speed wireless internet service available and give our customers the greatest, world-class support," said Baycom president Steve Elias. "This acquisition helps expand our service network with the potential to reach over 600,000 residents and businesses throughout the state."

Although high-speed internet is common in metro areas, many suburban and rural communities are still limited to slower dial-up connections. The Baycom service has created new opportunities for under-served rural communities and businesses to stay connected.

"The vision for our wireless network goes well beyond the high-speed internet we offer today," said Rich Haslitt, Baycom’s director of broadband services and network architect. "We can now offer customers a wide variety of innovative wireless solutions such as business internet backup, Voice over IP (VOIP) and wireless video security and monitoring solutions. Imagine your garage door sending you an e-mail because it was left open too long or a wireless camera sending you pictures of your property while you are on vacation … It’s all possible with the Baycom Broadband network.”

National Bancshares to acquire First Wisconsin Bank & Trust
QCR Holdings Inc. has signed an agreement to sell its Milwaukee subsidiary, First Wisconsin Bank & Trust, to National Bancshares Inc. for approximately $13.5 million.

Pending regulatory approval, the transaction is expected to close near the end of 2008.

Immediately prior to the proposed transaction, Moline, Ill.-based QCR Holdings intends to repurchase 121,246 shares of QCR Holdings stock currently owned by National Bancshares in its investment portfolio of various bank holding company securities. The amount of the redemption, if conducted today, is expected to be approximately $1.6 million, based on the current stock price.

National Bancshares Inc. is a $1.1 billion bank holding company headquartered in Bettendorf, Iowa.

"The current banking and capital market environments look very different today than they did in 2006 when we expanded our footprint into the Milwaukee market," said Doug Hultquist, president and chief executive officer of QCR Holdings. "In particular, the de novo banking environment has changed significantly, resulting in a longer period of start-up losses than first projected. Our expansion into the Milwaukee market in 2006 required that we devote more resources, particularly capital, to that charter. At that time it was much easier to raise capital in our industry. The current banking and economic environments call for the best and most strategic use of capital, and we feel confident that our strategy to focus on our Quad-Cities, Cedar Rapids and Rockford charters, and our leasing subsidiary, M2 Lease Funds, is the most efficient and cost effective use of our capital."

One of the significant factors influencing the purchase by National Bancshares was that three of the four senior officers at First Wisconsin had previously worked with Dan Westrope, president and CEO of National Bancshares. Westrope previously was the CFO of State Financial Bank of Milwaukee, where he and the three senior officers were employed prior to State Financial’s sale to Associated Bank.

"I am excited to be back in the Milwaukee market and working with the talented team at First Wisconsin," Westrope said. "First Wisconsin has made great strides in growing loans and deposits since 2006 and we intend on continuing the successful expansion of the institution."

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