Wachovia Corp. and SouthTrust Corp. announced today they have signed a definitive merger agreement that will create the No. 1 bank in the Southeast.

“This transaction gives us clear leadership in a number of attractive, high-growth states, and extends our reach into new southeastern and southwestern states,” said Ken Thompson, Wachovia’s chairman and CEO.

The merger gives Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia an immediate scale in the fast-growing Texas market. Wachovia has assets of $411 billion. It serves customers primarily in 11 East Coast states and Washington, D.C.

SouthTrust is a $52.7 billion regional bank holding company with headquarters in Birmingham, Ala. SouthTrust operates banking and loan offices and ATMS in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Wachovia has agreed to exchange 0.89 shares of its common stock for each share of SouthTrust common stock. Based on Wachovia’s closing stock price of $47 on June 18, 2004, the transaction would be valued at $14.3 billion and represents an exchange value of $41.83 for each share of SouthTrust common stock.

The companies expect the deal to generate $255 million in annual after-tax expense reductions after a 15-month integration period following the merger’s completion.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2004.

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