SCBT Financial's deal for First Financial Holdings would be a sea change for dealmaking in the Southeast.

The $5.1 billion-asset SCBT (SCBT), in Columbia, S.C., announced Wednesday it would acquire the $3.2 billion-asset First Financial (FFCH) in Charleston, S.C., in a $302.4 million stock deal. The transaction pairs two profitable acquirers and provides them a platform to build a regional Southeast player.

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