Arkansas-based Simmons First to buy Liberty Bank

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PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) — Simmons First National Corporation says it is buying Liberty Bancshares in an all-stock transaction valued at more than $206 million.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter and is subject to approval by shareholders.

Through the end of March, Springfield, Missouri-based Liberty had assets of $1.1 billion, loans of $811 million and deposits of $885 million.

Simmons First Chairman and CEO George A. Makris says Liberty's expertise in small-business lending will enhance commercial offerings.

Liberty Chairman and CEO Gary Metzger called the merger a "win, win, win situation."

Simmons is based in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

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