Paine Webber Group said it has signed a merger agreement with J.C. Bradford & Co., a privately held brokerage based in Nashville, Tenn.

The deal, for $620 million in cash, would boost Paine Webber's client assets by $46 billion to about $500 billion.

Donald B. Marron, chairman and chief executive officer of PaineWebber, said the deal is "fully complementary to our private client and capital markets businesses."

He added that the merger will "accelerate our asset-gathering strategy through the addition of 900 talented financial advisors, and enhance our presence in the Southeast, a high-growth region of the country, particularly among the affluent."

James C. Bradford, Jr., chairman of J.C. Bradford, Jeff Powell, chief executive officer, Jim Graves, chief operating officer, and Luke Simons, vice chairman, all will have positions with PaineWebber.

The deal, which awaits regulatory and shareholder approvals, is expected to close in the third quarter.

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