Partnership Bank to be acquired by Bank First National for $41 million

Public Manitowoc bank to expand to southeastern Wisconsin

Braaten

Manitowoc-based Bank First National Corp. has agreed to acquire Cedarburg-based Partnership Community Bancshares Inc. for approximately $41 million in stock and cash, the companies announced today. The transaction is expected to close July 12, pending regulatory and shareholder approval.

David Braaten, president and CEO of Partnership Bank
Credit: Lila Aryan Photography

Partnership Bancshares operates Partnership Bank, a state-chartered community bank established in 1894 that has four Wisconsin branches, in Cedarburg, Mequon, Watertown and Tomah. As of Dec. 31, Partnership had $307 million in total assets, $261.6 million in deposits, $267.1 million in net loans, and $21.6 million in consolidated stockholders’ equity. As of Sept. 30, its net income year-to-date was $2.4 million and it had 61 employees.

Bank First National operates Bank First National Association, which has 18 branches in northeastern Wisconsin. It was founded in 1894 as Bank of Manitowoc. As of Sept. 30, Bank First had 253 employees, and about $1.7 billion in total assets, $1.5 billion in total deposits, $1.4 billion in net loans and leases, and $20.1 million in net income year-to-date. Bank First is a public company that trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Bank First is also a 30 percent owner of Port Washington-based insurance firm Ansay & Associates, and a 49.8 percent owner of bank data and technology service provider UFS LLC, which are expected to benefit Partnership Bank’s customers with added services.

Combined, the company would have $2.1 billion in assets, about $1.7 billion in loans and $1.8 billion in deposits. Bank First would extend its reach into southeastern Wisconsin with the addition of Partnership’s branches. The company said it plans to keep all of Partnership’s branches open. As for employees, a spokeswoman said the companies are evaluating overlapping roles and “can’t guarantee that all jobs will remain.”

The transaction would provide Partnership shareholders with the choice of either $17.38 per share in cash or 0.35 of a share of Bank First common stock in return for each Partnership share. Overall, 65 percent of Partnership shares are to be exchanged for stock, and 35 percent for cash, according to the agreement. The total transaction is estimated at $41 million.

“We are very excited to be uniting with Partnership Bank and increasing our footprint in Wisconsin,” said Mike Molepske, president and chief executive officer of Bank First. “With Partnership’s community involvement, strong deposit base, superior credit quality and relationship model of banking, it was evident from the start this would be the perfect fit for both banks as well as their employees, customers and shareholders. We look forward to our future together as a combined institution and the substantial impact we will have in the communities we serve.”

“Bank First is a Wisconsin-based homegrown community bank just like us. Our values, vision for building relationships and delivery of remarkable client service closely align,” said David Braaten, president and CEO of Partnership Bank. “Merging with Bank First provides us additional strength and resources for growth in our markets and the ability to efficiently deliver innovative products and services to our clients.”

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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