Whitney Holdings Corp. said Friday that it has entered into an agreement to buy Meritrust Federal Savings Banking in a tax-free pooling-of-interests transaction valued at $60.5 million.

Whitney said that Meritrust holders would get $73 per share in Whitney stock for each share of Meritrust. Meritrust, which has assets of about $233 million, has eight banking locations in Louisiana.

Whitney, with total assets of about $4.2 billion, has more than 100 branches in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. The company said it expects the transaction to close during the first half of 1998. - Reuters

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