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HERMITAGE, PA-F.N.B. Corp. has signed a definitive merger agreement to acquire State College-based Omega Financial Corp. in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $393 million. The acquisition will create the fifth largest bank holding company in Pennsylvania.

In addition, it adds Omega’s 64 branches to locally based F.N.B.’s current total of 154 locations. [F.N.B. is unrelated to the Christiansburg, VA-based FNB Corp.] During a Nov. 9 conference call, Stephen Gurgovits, president and CEO, said, “the addition of Omega’s franchise moves us into several attractive areas in the central part of Pennsylvania in which we currently have no presence and fills in our existing network.

“The Omega retail branches fit nicely in between the Pittsburgh and Harrisburg regions of our existing footprint,” he added. He does not anticipate closing any Omega units. F.N.B. expects to achieve approximately 30% cost savings of Omega’s cash non-interest expense by reducing administrative and operational redundancies.

Under the agreement, Omega shareholders are entitled to slightly more than two shares of F.N.B. common stock for each Omega share. Both companies’ boards of directors have approved the agreement. It is subject to shareholders’ and regulatory approvals and it is expected to close early in the second quarter of 2008.

Omega’s loan mix as well as its geographic network complements F.N.B., Gurgovits said during the call. He noted that Omega has “de-emphasized indirect auto lending” and has begun to sell its residential mortgage production into a secondary market. “Omega has no direct exposure to the subprime lending markets in either its loan portfolio or through its mortgage loan joint-venture, Omega Financial Mortgage Solutions,” he added.

In early trading on the NYSE on Nov. 12, shares of F.N.B. common stock traded at $15.57 a share, compared with a 52-week high of $18.85 a share on Dec. 28, 2006 and a 52-week low of $14.05 a share on this Aug. 6. Following the announcement, shares of OMEF on the Nasdaq were trading at $31.10 a share, up 1.8% for the day, compared with a 52-week trading range of $34.49 and $20.97 a share.

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