By BECKY GILLETTE
GULFPORT — Hancock Whitney Corp., the largest public company based in Mississippi ranked according to asset and revenue, had 3,933 employees, $28.2 billion in assets and $1.134 billion in revenue as of December 31, 2018. And now the parent company of Hancock Whitney Bank is poised to grow even larger with the merger planned with MidSouth Bancorp, Inc.
The companies announced the merger plans April 30 stating they have entered into a definitive agreement for MidSouth Bancorp, the parent company of MidSouth Bank, N.A., to merge into Hancock Whitney in a stock-for-stock transaction.
“We look forward to welcoming new clients and associates from our recently announced merger with MidSouth Bancorp headquartered in Lafayette, and look forward to continuing to serving not only this state but also our Gulf Coast neighbors,” said Hancock Whitney President and CEO John M. Hairston.
A press release from Hancock Whitney said that consistent with Hancock Whitney’s mergers and acquisitions strategy, the transaction is primarily an in-market acquisition of $1.7 billion in assets, with a balance sheet composed of approximately $900 million in high-yielding loans, $1.4 billion of low-cost deposits and a footprint that allows for significant cost savings.
“MidSouth’s franchise will provide enhanced opportunities for growth in several of our current markets, such as their home market of Lafayette, as well as opportunities for expansion in newer markets in Louisiana and Texas,” the company said.
Hairston said the merger fits perfectly with their stated strategies of adding scale and enhancing value through in-market, financially accretive, low-risk transactions that strengthen the company’s current franchise and provide opportunities for future growth.
MidSouth President and CEO Jim McLemore said they have a lot in common with Hancock Whitney, including a shared culture of client focus and relationship banking.
“This merger will provide our customers, employees, and shareholders the benefits of scale it would have taken years for us to accomplish independently,” McLemore said.
Hairston said Hancock Whitney is and always has been a community-oriented bank.
“We believe that a strong commitment to serving our clients helps strengthen the communities we serve,” Hairston said. “Today, we are proud to be both the largest public company in Mississippi and a top-50 U.S. bank (by assets).”
The acquisition of Midsouth by Hancock Whitney is part of a larger trend in the industry and should be a good strategic move for both banking firms, said Dr. Ken B. Cyree, director of the Mississippi School of Banking, University of Mississippi.
“The deal will help grow Hancock Whitney into markets they do not currently serve, or have limited exposure in, and will allow Hancock Whitney to grow the scale and geographic scope of their business,” Cyree said. “The industry trend of banks getting larger to better compete is driven in part by regulatory burden and costs associated with tightened compliance after the Great Recession that lead to the Dodd-Frank Act. Since the combined firm will be about $30 billion in asset size, there is room for Hancock Whitney to continue to grow when opportunities arise without crossing higher regulatory thresholds for increased burden, and they continue to increase their scale to benefit from potential cost savings.”
Cyree said he believes the acquisition is good for the bank, Mississippi, and the region as this increased diversification and scale will allow the biggest bank in Mississippi to compete better regionally.
Under the terms of the agreement, each share of MidSouth Bancorp, Inc. common stock will convert to the right to receive 0.2952 shares of Hancock Whitney Corporation common stock. Per the merger agreement, the conversion ratio reflects a per share value of $12.75 per MidSouth common share. The parties anticipate redeeming all of MidSouth’s outstanding preferred stock at closing subject to receipt of applicable governmental approvals.
The banking firms said the transaction is expected to close with a simultaneous systems conversion in late third quarter of 2019. Pro forma information assumes 50-55 percent cost savings (based on MidSouth’s 2019/2020 street estimates), and is accretive to Hancock Whitney’s earnings per share beginning in the first quarter of 2020.
The transaction is subject to the satisfaction of certain customary closing conditions including receipt of regulatory and MidSouth shareholder approval. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is serving as financial advisor to Hancock Whitney and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz is serving as legal advisor. Sandler O’Neill + Partners, L.P. is serving as financial advisor to MidSouth and Troutman Sanders LLP is serving as legal advisor.
MidSouth provides a full range of banking services to commercial and retail customers in Louisiana and Texas at 42 locations in Louisiana and Texas. For more information, see the website www.MidSouthBank.com.
Both Hancock Bank and Whitney Bank have been in business since the late 1800s and had done business with each other for more than 100 years before their merger in 2011.
Hancock Whitney Corp. has 197 banking locations, including financial centers and business financial centers. It operates wealth management and trust offices in New York and New Jersey, and a loan production office in Nashville, TN.
The Hancock Whitney Plaza corporate headquarters in Gulfport is the tallest office building in downtown Gulfport. The Hancock Whitney Center New Orleans regional headquarters—formerly One Shell Square—is the tallest office building in Louisiana. There are operations and data centers across the five-state footprint, including Gulfport, New Orleans (UNO), Denham Springs, LA, and Montgomery, AL.
For more information, see the website www.hancockwhitney.com/.
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