National City expanding south, acquiring Florida Bancshares

CLEVELAND (AP) - National City Corp. said Tuesday it is acquiring a Florida banking company in a $1.1 billion stock deal that will give National City it first retail presence in Florida.

The deal for Harbor Florida Bancshares Inc. is part of National City's plan to expand in growth markets, said David Daberko, National City chairman and CEO. Fort Pierce-based Harbor Florida has assets of $3.2 billion and 40 branches along the east coast.

Before this deal, National City's operations in Florida have been limited to residential and commercial real estate lending, commercial finance and personal wealth management.

Harbor Florida shareholders will receive National City stock worth $45 for each share of Harbor Florida stock.

The deal sent Harbor Florida stock up 17 percent, or $6.42, to $43.97 in early trading Tuesday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The low for the stock in the past year has been $32.71.

National City stock fell 2.6 percent, or 95 cents, to $35.44 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has traded between $29.75 and 40 in the past year.

The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter.