Synovus to purchase Atlanta-based specialty lender for $30 million-plus

Synovus Financial Corp. said Thursday it has entered an agreement to acquire a specialty finance company based in Atlanta, in a deal valued at $30 million initially, with possible revenue incentives to the selling shareholders in the coming years.

The Columbus-based bank, parent company of Columbus Bank and Trust, said it expects to complete its purchase of Entaire early in the fourth quarter of this year, which would mean sometime in October. The acquisition is subject to approval by Entaire shareholders.

Entaire is a privately owned life insurance premium finance lender founded in 2001, with fewer than 25 employees today. Its subsidiary, Global One, specializes in non-mortality loans to commercial entities. The collateralized loans are primarily used by small businesses.

Entaire’s loan portfolio stood at $891 million at the end of July, the companies said. It has averaged $250 million in loan origination activity over the last three years.

“The addition of Entaire aligns well with our strategy for building balance sheet strength and further diversifying our loan portfolio,” said Synovus Chairman and CEO Kessel Stelling. “We are excited about the solid growth potential Entaire provides, and about the combining of our similar cultures that are deeply rooted in service to customers, team members, and communities.”

Synovus, a regional bank doing business in five Southeastern states, said it will make an “up-front payment” of $30 million to Entaire shareholders in the form of stock and cash. Synovus stock will make up just over 82 percent of the transaction. It said more payments will be made over three to five years based on the revenue performance of Entaire.

The company’s top executives also have inked long-term employment contracts and will remain with Synovus.

Jonathan Rosen, chairman and CEO of Entaire, said Synovus makes an “ideal partner” due to its “financial strength” and “legacy of personal service” to customers with which the bank deals.

“We are pleased to be joining the company and look forward to making a significant contribution to its future,” he said.

Shares of Synovus stock rose 30 cents apiece, closing at $32.22, in trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $25.48 to $33.80 per share.