United Bankshares has signed a definitive merger agreement with Centra Financial Holdings. The acquisition of Centra will afford United the opportunity to enhance its existing footprint in Maryland and West Virginia, as well as provide an entry into Pennsylvania.

Centra, which is headquartered in Morgantown, West Virginia, has $1.4 billion in assets and 15 offices and one loan origination office.

Centra’s locations are in and surrounding the four strategic markets of Hagerstown, Maryland; Martinsburg, West Virginia; Morgantown, West Virginia; and Uniontown, Pennsylvania. With the acquisition of Centra, United’s assets will grow to approximately $9bn.

United will acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of Centra in exchange for common shares of United. The exchange ratio will be fixed at 0.7676 of United shares for each share of Centra which equates to $21 based on United’s closing price of $27.36 on 10 December 2010.

United will provide cash consideration for Centra’s outstanding options. The transaction, which has been approved by both United’s and Centra’s Boards of Directors, is estimated to close early in the third quarter of 2011, pending regulatory approvals and the approval of Centra shareholders.

The estimated aggregate consideration of the transaction is approximately $186.9m based on Centra’s 8.4 million common shares outstanding, Centra’s 1.2 million options outstanding and United’s recent stock price of $27.36 per share as of 10 December 2010.