OceanFirst Financial Corp. and Partners Bancorp announce merger agreement

OceanFirst Financial Corp. and Partners Bancorp are merging. The two financial institutions jointly announced Thursday that they have entered into a definitive agreement in a deal valued at about $186 million, expanding OceanFirst’s footprint into Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Under the agreement, the companies said Partners’ Delaware-based Bank of Delmarva and Virginia-based Virginia Partners Bank operations would be merged into OceanFirst Bank. The combined company is expected to have pro forma assets of about $13.5 billion, $9.3 billion in loans and $11.2 billion in deposits, they said.

Partners is the multi-bank holding company that owns The Bank of Delmarva and Virginia Partners Bank. At September 30, 2021, Partners had $1.64 billion in assets, $1.11 billion in loans, $1.44 billion in deposits, and $139.5 million in stockholders’ equity.

Maher. – OceanFirst

“The banks that comprise Partners Bancorp are each strong organizations operating community commercial banking models and have demonstrated strong growth in their markets,” Christopher Maher, OceanFirst chairman and CEO said.

“Joining the OceanFirst family will allow these highly professional commercial bankers to continue to build new relationships while leveraging the technology and operating efficiency offered by our company. The addition of the customers and employees of The Bank of Delmarva and Virginia Partners Bank, along with their respective operating divisions of Liberty Bell Bank and Maryland Partners Bank, joining our OceanFirst team provides an exciting opportunity to expand our digitally-focused commercial banking franchise further into Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and the Washington D.C. metro area.”

“This partnership creates a powerful and innovative financial services provider better able to serve its clients and communities of today and tomorrow,” Lloyd Harrison, III, chief executive officer of Partners said. “The team at OceanFirst has built and maintains a high quality banking franchise, and there is no better team with which to unite to deliver community-style banking and to capitalize on the opportunities presented by an evolving industry.”

The merger is expected to close in the first half of 2022, subject to Partners receiving the requisite approval of its stockholders, receipt of all required regulatory approvals, and fulfillment of other customary closing conditions.

Raymond James & Associates, Inc. served as financial advisor to OceanFirst and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP served as OceanFirst’s legal counsel. Piper Sandler Companies served as financial advisor to Partners and Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders LLP served as Partners’ legal counsel.