SCBT Financial (SCBT) in Columbia has agreed to buy First Financial Holdings (FFCH) in Charleston in a deal between South Carolina banks.

SCBT will pay roughly $302 million for First Financial in the stock transaction. The deal values First Financial's stock at $18.30 a share, or a premium of about 11% to the seller's closing price on Tuesday. The companies expect to complete the transaction in the third quarter.

Five of First Financial's directors will join SCBT's board.  R. Wayne Hall, First Financial's president and chief executive, will become SCBT's president, and Paula Harper Bethea, First Financial's chairman, will become SCBT's vice chairman.  Robert Hill will remain SCBT's chief executive, while Robert Horger remains its chairman.

SCBT has $5.1 billion in assets and 82 branches in South Carolina, Georgia and North Carolina. First Financial has $3.2 billion in assets and 70 branches in North Carolina and South Carolina.

"Our two banks complement each other significantly and, because of our size, earnings power and strength, we will be uniquely positioned to build a premier regional bank in the Southeast," Hill said in the press release.

Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz advised SCBT. Sandler O'Neill and Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton advised First Financial.

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