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Journal Times staff and Associated Press

Valley Bancorporation will merge with Marshall & Ilsley Corp. in a stock transaction valued at about $875 million.

Appleton-based Valley and Milwaukee-based M&I announced Monday that they had signed a definitive merger agreement. In a joint announcement, the bank holding companies reported that 1.72 shares of M&I stock will be exchanged for each share of Valley stock.

The new company is to have more than 280 locations with total assets of approximately $12.1 billion.

M&I has 37 affiliated banks in 131 locations in Wisconsin. M&I also has a bank with 12 offices in Phoenix, Ariz. Its M&I Bank of Racine, with assets of about $136 million, is Racine County's fifth largest commercial bank.

Valley has 154 banking offices in Wisconsin, concentrated in the Fox River Valley, Madison and Milwaukee. Valley Bank of Janesville has a branch office in Burlington.

"This combination, which is a superb strategic fit, benefits greatly the people of the state of Wisconsin and underscores our commitment to provide quality financial services for our customers throughout the state," said James B. Wigdale, M&I chairman and chief executive officer.

The announcement said Peter M. Platten III, president and chief executive officer of Valley, is to become vice chairman of M&I, responsible for retail and community banking.

Valley had said last week that it was negotiating with an unnamed company for a "significant business combination transaction" but did not provide any details. The company's stock price soared nearly 11 percent last week on the speculation.

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