Nicolet Bankshares Inc. and Mackinac Financial Corp. jointly announced a merger in which Nicolet will acquire Mackinac and its wholly-owned banking subsidiary, mBank.

Both Nicolet and mBank have branch offices located in Eagle River. Nicolet also has offices in Rhinelander and Minocqua, while mBank has facilities in Three Lakes and St. Germain.

Upon completion of the transaction, Nicolet’s existing branch at 325 W. Pine St. in Eagle River is expected to close and consolidate with continued service out of the mBank office at 400 E. Wall St. in Eagle River, officials said.

“The acquisition of mBank is an important step in Nicolet’s planned growth. This deal is not about expanded geographies, but rather about the characteristics of the communities we will serve,” said Mike Daniels, president and CEO of Nicolet National Bank. “Together, we will combine two organizations that understand the positive impact that a strong community bank can make. We look forward to becoming an integral part of the Upper Peninsula and northern Michigan.

Daniels offered two initial thoughts when it comes to the question of “what’s next?” 

“First, we know that scale and efficiencies matter in community banking today. Our customers continue to tell and show us that convenience no longer means a branch on every corner,” said Daniels. “Second, we understand that actions speak louder than words. We want the communities to know that we are committed to realizing the promise of this acquisition.”

Daniels stated bank decisions will remain local.

“After the transaction is complete, people will see a strong community bank focused on keeping decisions local. We will build and expand on mBank’s legacy of being a great steward of its communities,” said Daniels. “Together, we will find the best ways to serve to become the lead-local community bank.”

Paul Tobias, chairman and CEO of Mackinac, said, “On behalf of our board of directors, I am pleased to announce our merger into the Nicolet family. We have found a strategic partner that is a true community bank with deep commitments to the markets we serve. The market cultures of our respective organizations mesh well, and the greater lending access will strengthen our value to current and prospective customers. This deal represents a fair transaction that unlocks shareholder value for us both.”

Post merger, Tobias will join the boards of directors of Nicolet Bankshares and Nicolet National Bank. All customer-facing employees of Mackinac are expected to stay on in the same capacity, according to company officials.

Bob Atwell, CEO and chairman of Nicolet, said, “Nicolet always takes the long view when it comes to acquisitions. This deal with Mackinac represents a unique and sizeable opportunity to expand Nicolet’s franchise across a greater Northern footprint, while at the same time, being highly accretive to long-term shareholder value. It also opens up the possibility for future expansion into the state of Michigan, if and when the opportunity arises.”

Kelly George, president and CEO of mBank said, “In Nicolet, we have found a strategic partner who shares our vision of being people-driven and community-centric. Together, we will continue to deliver personal and timely decisions through local bankers who are a part of the communities we serve. Maintaining and creating strong relationships will continue to be the value we bring to our customers.”

Transaction details

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies. It is subject to both Mackinac and Nicolet shareholder approval, regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021. 

Based on the financial results as of Dec. 31, 2020, the combined company will have total assets of $6.1 billion, deposits of $5.2 billion and loans of $3.9 billion, and Mackinac would represent approximately 25% of the combined company’s year-end assets.

Under the terms of the  agreement, Mackinac shareholders will have the right to receive 0.22 shares of Nicolet’s common stock and $4.64 for each share of common stock of Mackinac Financial Corporation with total consideration to consist of approximately 80% stock and 20% cash. 

Based upon the closing price of Nicolet Banc

kshares common stock of $84.40 on April 9, 2021, the implied per share purchase price is $23.21, with an aggregate transaction value of approximately $248 million.

Founded in Green Bay in 2000, Nicolet National Bank operates branches in northeast and central Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. 

Headquartered in Manistique, Mich., mBank has 28 branch locations: 10 in the Upper Peninsula, 10 in the northern lower Michigan, one in Oakland County, Mich., and seven in northern Wisconsin.