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Oct 29 (Reuters) - Cleveland-based KeyCorp is in advanced talks to buy Buffalo-based First Niagara Financial Group Inc, according to sources familiar with the matter, the latest example of a consolidation push among regional U.S. banks.
A deal, which could be announced as early as Friday, is expected to be at a slight premium to First Niagara's market capitalization of $3.85 billion as of Wednesday's close.
Representatives of the two banks did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday.
KeyCorp shares were down 1.7 percent at $13.65 in early afternoon trading, while First Niagara's shares were down 2.1 percent at $10.61.
Consolidation among smaller U.S. banks has been spurred by persistently low interest rates and an increase in costs related to stricter regulations following the financial crisis.
Earlier on Thursday, New York Community Bancorp said it had agreed to buy Lake Success, New York-based Astoria Financial Corp for about $2 billion.
North Carolina-based BB&T agreed in August to buy National Penn Bancshares, based in Pennsylvania, for $1.8 billion.
In the biggest deal involving a regional bank this year, Royal Bank of Canada agreed to buy Los Angeles-based City National Corp for $5.4 billion. (Reporting by Mike Stone and Rachel Chitra; Editing by Don Sebastian and Ted Kerr)