South State in Columbia, S.C., has finally announced its next whole-bank acquisition.

The $8.7 billion-asset company said in a press release Friday that it has agreed to buy the $1.9 billion-asset Southeastern Bank Financial in Augusta, Ga., for $335 million in stock. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter.

Southeastern, the parent of Georgia Bank & Trust, has $1.6 billion in deposits and $1 billion in loans. The company's chief executive, Daniel Blanton, was tapped in November for a one-year term as chairman of the American Bankers Association.

"We are pleased to announce this partnership with Georgia Bank & Trust. As the leading bank in the Augusta and Aiken markets, the company has a great reputation and a great team of bankers," Robert Hill Jr., South State's chief executive, said in the release. "Our teams and our company cultures are very similar, and we look forward to enhancing customer relationships and continuing the legacy of service in these communities."

It had been several years since South State last announced a bank deal. Its name has come up frequently since rumors surfaced that Yadkin Financial in Raleigh, N.C., is considering selling itself.

Keefe, Bruyette, & Woods and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz advised South State. Sandler O'Neill and Bryan Cave advised Southeastern Bank.

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