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Hancock, Whitney shareholders approve merger

GULFPORT and NEW ORLEANS — At separate but concurrent special meetings, Hancock Holding Company shareholders and Whitney Holding Corporation shareholders voted in favor of the proposed merger of the two companies.

This approval by both companies’ shareholders marks another milestone necessary for Whitney to merge with and into Hancock. Hancock and Whitney expect to close the merger during the second quarter of 2011, pending regulatory approval and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions.

Of shareholders present and entitled to vote at the respective meetings, 98.4 percent of Hancock shareholders and 98.7 percent of Whitney common shareholders voted to approve the merger agreement.

Upon completion of the merger, holders of Whitney common stock will receive 0.418 of a share of Hancock Holding Company common stock for each share of Whitney common stock held immediately prior to the merger, subject to payment of cash in lieu of fractional shares. The implied value Whitney shareholders will receive in the merger will change depending on changes in the market price of Hancock common stock.

When the merger closes, Hancock Holding Company is expected to become the 32nd largest bank holding company headquartered in the United States, with assets of almost $20 billion. The combined company will, ultimately, operate almost 300 branches and nearly 400 ATMs under the Hancock Bank name in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida and the Whitney Bank brand in Louisiana and Texas.

Source: Hancock Holding

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