FREE MEMBERSHIP Includes » ABL Advisor eNews + iData Blasts | JOIN NOW ABLAdvisor Gray ABLAdvisor Blue
Skip Navigation LinksHome / News / Read News


Provident Financial Services and Lakeland Bancorp to Merge

September 27, 2022, 08:00 AM
Filed Under:

Provident Financial Services, the parent company of Provident Bank, and Lakeland Bancorp, Inc., the parent company of Lakeland Bank, announced that they have entered into a definitive merger agreement pursuant to which the companies will combine in an all-stock merger, valued at approximately $1.3 billion. The merger combines two complementary banking platforms to create New Jersey’s preeminent super-community bank. The combined company will have more than $25 billion in assets and $20 billion in total deposits.

“We are excited to announce this transformational combination of two amazing organizations. The scale and profitability of the combined organization will enable us to invest in the future, better compete for market share, and better serve our customers and communities. We bring together a diverse group of employees who are committed to delivering exceptional service to our customers and the communities we serve,” said Anthony Labozzetta, President and Chief Executive Officer of Provident. “It is particularly gratifying to embark on this journey with our colleagues on the Lakeland team and Tom Shara, whom we have held in high regard for many years.”

“As two of New Jersey’s most respected banks that nearly mirror each other in our shared cultures and missions to support and deliver to our customers, communities and shareholders, we are thrilled that we’re combining our talented teams,” said Thomas J. Shara, Lakeland’s President and CEO. “The combination of our companies will allow us to achieve substantially more for our clients, associates, communities, and shareholders than we could alone. I have tremendous respect for Tony Labozzetta, Chris Martin, Provident’s management team and associates. We will continue to build upon and leverage our combined strengths as we focus on the future together.”

Chris Martin, Executive Chairman of Provident added: “Lakeland’s board of directors and executive leadership are fully aligned with Provident’s vision, values and culture. Both companies provide best in class products and services to their customers. We are confident that this strategic combination and the resulting strong pro forma financial performance, synergies and experienced management team will deliver on our commitment to providing superior long-term shareholder returns.”

Strategic Benefits of the Merger

Enhances Scale and Builds Upon Complementary Strengths: The combined company will be strategically positioned to benefit from enhanced scale and improved opportunities for growth and profitability. While the transaction fortifies Provident and Lakeland’s positions as leading players in the Tri-State commercial real estate market, Provident’s two ancillary fee-based business lines in insurance and wealth management and Lakeland’s growing asset-based lending and equipment lease financing provide opportunities for additional growth and relationship expansion. Both Provident and Lakeland have extensive experience successfully integrating with merger partners, and both are intensely focused on ensuring a smooth integration.

Creates a Bank with a Significant New Jersey Banking Presence: The combined company will have approximately 4% of all bank deposits in New Jersey, which represents the second largest share of New Jersey bank deposits for institutions with less than $100 billion in assets. Its enhanced branch footprint in attractive Northern and Central New Jersey and strong capital base will allow the combined company to better serve the needs of small-to-mid-sized businesses. The combined company will further strengthen its deep commitment to and extensive skillset in commercial lending.

Financially Compelling: Pro forma calculations with respect to the combined company indicate 2024 GAAP earnings per share accretion of approximately 24% or 9% with and without purchase accounting interest rate marks, respectively. The transaction is approximately 17% (3.6 year earnback) or 4% (1.7 year earnback) dilutive to tangible book value with and without purchase accounting interest rate marks, respectively. Management believes that conservative and achievable cost savings, projected to be approximately 35% of Lakeland’s expense base, will drive strong financial metrics, material capital generation and tangible book value per share growth. The transaction results in an internal rate of return of approximately 20%.

Transaction Details

Under the terms of the merger agreement, which was unanimously approved by the boards of directors of both companies, Lakeland will merge with and into Provident, with Provident as the surviving corporation, and Lakeland Bank will merge with and into Provident Bank, with Provident Bank as the surviving bank. Following the closing of the transaction, Lakeland shareholders will receive 0.8319 shares of Provident common stock for each share of Lakeland common stock they own. Upon completion of the transaction, which is subject to both Provident and Lakeland shareholder approval, Provident shareholders will own 58% and Lakeland shareholders will own 42% of the combined company.

Name, Branding and Headquarters

The combined company will operate under the “Provident Financial Services, Inc.” name and the combined bank will operate under the “Provident Bank” name.

The administrative headquarters of the combined company will be located in Iselin, New Jersey.

The combined company will trade under the Provident ticker symbol “PFS” on the New York Stock Exchange.

Governance and Leadership

The combined company’s board of directors will have sixteen directors, consisting of nine directors from Provident and seven directors from Lakeland.

  • Christopher Martin, Provident’s current Executive Chairman, will continue to serve as Executive Chairman of the combined company board of directors
  • Thomas Shara Jr., Lakeland’s current President, Chief Executive Officer and director, will serve as Executive Vice Chairman of the combined company board of directors
  • Anthony Labozzetta, a current director of Provident, will continue to serve as a director of the combined company
  • A Provident board representative will serve as the independent lead director of the combined company board of directors

The combined company will be led by a well-respected management team that is comprised of individuals with significant financial services and M&A integration experience.

  • Anthony Labozzetta, Provident’s current President and Chief Executive Officer, will continue to serve in that role in the combined company
  • Thomas Lyons, Provident’s current Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will continue to serve in that role in the combined company
  • The remainder of the executive team will draw from both Provident and Lakeland

Timing and Approvals

The merger is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including receipt of customary regulatory approvals and approval by the shareholders of each company.


Piper Sandler Companies is acting as financial advisor, and has rendered a fairness opinion to the board of directors of Provident. Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is serving as legal counsel to Provident. Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, A Stifel Company is acting as financial advisor, and has rendered a fairness opinion to the board of directors of Lakeland. Luse Gorman, PC is serving as legal counsel to Lakeland.

Comments From Our Members

You must be an ABL Advisor member to post comments. Login or Join Now.