ST. LOUIS -- Southside Bancshares Corp. said its directors adopted a shareholder rights plan to protect against coercive and unfair takeover tactics by a hostile acquirer.

The company said the action was taken due to uncertainty over recent takeovers in the banking industry.

The plan calls for Southside shareholders to get a dividend distribution June 15 of one right for each outstanding share of common stock held.

The rights will be exercisable 10 days after a person or group acquires ownership of 25% or more of Southside's outstanding common stock or begins a tender or exchange offer to acquire at least 25% of the outstanding common stock.

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