- Associated Press - Monday, February 10, 2014

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - First Interstate Bank’s parent company plans to acquire Mountain West Bank in a deal that will pay Mountain West shareholders approximately $72.8 million, Billings-based First Interstate said Monday.

First Interstate BancSystem Inc. senior vice president and marketing director Cynthia Lyle confirmed the acquisition announced on First Interstate’s website.

The deal must be approved by regulators and Mountain West shareholders. It already has been approved by both companies’ boards, and First Interstate said it expects to complete the deal by midyear.

“Bringing these two companies together gives us the opportunity to expand our statewide market in Montana and provides us with a solid presence in the Helena market,” First Interstate Chairman Tom Scott said in the statement.

Helena-based Mountain West Financial Corp. was founded in 1991, had $647 million in assets at the end of September and operates 12 branches in central and western Montana.

Mountain West CEO Rick Hart said in the statement the merger would mean an expanded line of financial services for his customers.

The merger would give First Interstate, which operates in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota, approximately $8.2 billion in assets.

The $72.8 million sales price is based on First Interstate’s closing stock price Monday of $24.77 per share, which is up .04 percent from Friday.

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