Carolina Financial has agreed to acquire First South Bancorp, parent of North Carolina-based First South Bank, in a deal worth $162m.

First South currently has 28 branches across the Research Triangle and eastern regions of North Carolina.  As at 31 March 2017, the company reported $1bn in assets, $730m in gross loans and $920m in deposits.

The combined entity will manage assets of around $3.2bn, loans of $2.2bn, and deposits of $2.5bn.

As per the agreed terms of the deal, shareholders of First South are entitled to receive 0.52 shares of Carolina Financial common stock for each share held.

The deal already secured the nod from both companies’ boards of directors. It is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2017, subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals.

As part of the deal, First South president and CEO Bruce Elder will assume the role of president of North Carolina Banking at CresCom Bank, a subsidiary of Carolina Financial.

Carolina Financial CEO Jerry Rexroad said: “We are excited about the opportunity to enhance our scale in North Carolina and to enter Raleigh and Durham, two of the fastest growing markets in the Southeast, as a result of this partnership.”