Dow Jones

NEW YORK - Merchants New York Bancorp shareholders approved Valley National Bancorp's plan to buy the company.

The deal, valued at $375 million, is a tax-free stock swap that would exchange each of the 18.6 million Merchants common shares outstanding for 0.7634 Valley common share. Valley of Wayne, N.J., would issue 14.2 million shares for the transaction.

Merchants said Valley expects to complete the acquisition in early 2001.

Shares of Merchants New York recently traded at $23, up 44 cents, or 1.9%, on Nasdaq volume of 100 shares. Average daily volume is 23,103 shares. Merchants has seven midtown Manhattan branches for mostly commercial clients.

Valley National's 117 branches in 10 New Jersey counties focus on consumer clients.

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