United Community Banks sells shares

The move is designed to shore up the Blairsville-based bank’s balance sheet, which has been hard hit by losses tied to the real estate industry. The bank had initially announced plans to raise $175 million, but demand was larger than expected, the company said in a news release. The company said it had sold 44.5 million shares at $5 per share.

The company’s stock price fell much of the past year, from a high of more than $15 a share last October to a low of $2.35 a share in March. The stock rallied across the $8 per share mark in early June before falling back to $5 a share at close Wednesday.

Jimmy Tallent, United’s president and CEO, said the stock sale “boosts the company’s already strong capital position. The response says a great deal about investor confidence in United’s long-term track record and opportunities ahead.”

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