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Lakeland makes another acquisition, agreeing to $32M merger with Harmony Bank

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Lakeland Bancorp Inc., which acquired Pascack Community Bank in August, has continued its expansion by agreeing to take over Harmony Bank, it announced Thursday.

Lakeland, parent of Lakeland Bank, said in a news release the transaction, in which Harmony will merge into Lakeland, is worth about $32 million in stock. Under the terms of the deal, Harmony shareholders will receive 1.25 shares of Lakeland common stock for each share of Harmony common stock they own when the merger takes effect. The $32 million figure is based on Lakeland’s closing price of $10.23 per share on Wednesday.

“We are delighted to be combining with Harmony Bank and expanding Lakeland’s presence into Ocean County,” Thomas J. Shara, CEO and president of Lakeland, said in a prepared statement. “This merger is consistent with our recent initiatives to expand into desirable markets, and leverages our highly successful loan production office initiated in 2015 covering nearby Middlesex and Monmouth counties.

“We look forward to working with Harmony Bank in delivering a broad array of business and consumer products into a dynamic marketplace.”

The boards of directors of Lakeland Bancorp, Lakeland Bank and Harmony have all approved the merger transaction. Closing is expected to occur in the late second quarter or early third quarter of the year, pending customary approvals and conditions.

“We are very excited to be partnering with such a strong, well-managed organization as Lakeland,” Michael Schutzer, CEO and president of Harmony, said in a statement. “This merger will bring together two financially strong banks with similar cultures as well as a proven history of building relationships through superior customer service.

“We are excited to bring our hometown bank relationship focus together with the sophistication and experience of a larger one.”

Lakeland has 53 branches and five regional commercial lending centers in northern and central New Jersey, as well as two commercial loan production offices, in Central Jersey and New York’s Hudson Valley.

Harmony is headquartered in Jackson and has branches in Ocean County.

Sandler O’Neill & Partners L.P. is Lakeland’s financial adviser, while Lowenstein Sandler LLP is its legal adviser. Raymond James is Harmony’s financial adviser and Day Pitney LLP is its legal adviser.

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