Berkshire acquires Beacon Federal

Berkshire Hills Bancorp will acquire Beacon Federal Bancorp, a transaction valued at approximately $132 million, the two banking companies announced. Beacon Federal will be merged into Berkshire Bank.

Beacon is headquartered in East Syracuse, and operates seven offices with deposits totaling $677 million as of the end of the first quarter.

When the merger is completed, Berkshire will have 10 branches serving the Rome-Utica and Syracuse markets, with approximately $700 million in deposits and third position in market share among regional banks. Additionally, Berkshire will add Beacon’s Chelmsford, Mass., office. Berkshire anticipates that it will divest Beacon’s Tennessee operations in conjunction with the merger.

Under the terms of the merger, half of the outstanding Beacon shares will be exchanged for Berkshire shares at a fixed exchange ratio of 0.92 shares for each Beacon share, while the remaining Beacon shares will be exchanged for cash at $20.50 per share.

Berkshire President and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Daly said: "Our New York expansion last year exceeded our expectations in terms of financial return, customer retention, and business development opportunities... This merger will bring our total Central and Eastern New York branch count to 26 offices, with total deposits exceeding $1.4 billion."

The merger is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter. One Beacon director will be appointed to Berkshire’s board of directors.