Hancock Holding Co. in Gulfport, Miss., announced Monday that it had begun a $150 million common stock offering, just after reporting that its third-quarter earnings slipped 4.9% from the year earlier, but rose 10.7% from the second quarter, to $15.2 million.

The $6.8 billion-asset company said it could use the fresh capital to make acquisitions. Hancock has said previously that it would be open to bidding on failed institutions.

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