Shareholders at BancorpSouth and First United Bankshares have approved a merger that would create one of the largest banking companies in the South.

BancorpSouth of Tupelo, Miss., and First United, of El Dorado, Ark., announced plans to merge in May. The shareholder vote, announced Thursday, paves the way for the two companies to complete a $455 million deal scheduled to close Aug. 31.

The new company, to be called BancorpSouth, would have $9 billion of assets and about 240 branches in six states. BancorpSouth operates in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. First United, which has $2.7 billion of assets, has branches located in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.

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