Trustmark Corp.'s shares jumped more than 7% in heavy trading on speculation that the company is about to be acquired.
Market observers said that possible buyers of the Jackson, Miss., banking company include Union Planters Corp., a $15.2 billion-asset bank in Memphis, which has been an active acquirer for the last year.
Another potential buyer is $5.1 billion-asset First American Corp., Nashville, which in December announced a deal to acquire Deposit Guaranty Corp.
Officials at Trustmark, Union Planters, and First American declined to comment.
Market observers said Trustmark's new chief executive officer, Richard G. Hickson, may be more inclined to sell the company than former chief executive officer Frank R. Day was.
Rumors that Trustmark was about to be acquired swirled last week, but died down when two directors, John L. Black and Robert P. Cooke, filed to sell more than 38,000 shares of the company.