updated 5/13/2011 8:47:42 PM ET 2011-05-14T00:47:42

GULFPORT, Miss., May 13, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hancock Holding Company (Nasdaq:HBHC) ("Hancock") announced today that the company has received all federal regulatory approvals required under the merger agreement in connection with its proposed merger of Whitney Holding Corporation (Nasdaq:WTNY) ("Whitney").

"Hancock and Whitney were both founded to facilitate commerce and opportunities for people throughout the Gulf South region. For more than a century, both institutions have served complementary geographical footprints according to core values that reflect the spirit of those communities — integrity, service, resilience, and teamwork. We believe today's announcement presents an unprecedented opportunity to enhance shareholder value and strengthen the financial options available to individuals and businesses from Texas to Central Florida," said Hancock Holding Company President and Chief Executive Officer Carl J. Chaney.

The closing of the merger is expected to be effective as of 11:59 pm on Saturday, June 4, 2011. Upon completion of the transaction, the combined company is expected to be the 32nd largest bank holding company headquartered in the United States with approximately $20 billion in total assets, $16 billion in deposits, $12 billion in loans, over 300 branches, nearly 400 ATMs, and almost 5,000 employees across the five contiguous states of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida.

About Hancock Holding Company

Hancock Holding Company is the parent company of Hancock Bank (Mississippi), Hancock Bank of Louisiana, and Hancock Bank of Alabama. Founded in 1899, Hancock Bank consistently ranks as one of the country's strongest, safest financial institutions, according to BauerFinancial, Inc. More corporate information and e-banking are available at www.hancockbank.com .

The Hancock Holding Company logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=2758

"SAFE HARBOR" STATEMENT UNDER THE PRIVATE SECURITIES LITIGATION REFORM ACT OF 1995Congress passed the Private Securities Litigation Act of 1995 in an effort to encourage corporations to provide information about companies' anticipated future financial performance. This act provides a safe harbor for such disclosure, which protects the companies from unwarranted litigation if actual results are different from management expectations. This release contains forward-looking statements and reflects management's current views and estimates of future economic circumstances, industry conditions, company performance, and financial results. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties which could cause the Company's actual results and experience to differ from the anticipated results and expectations expressed in such forward-looking statements.

CONTACT: Carl J. Chaney, President and Chief Executive Officer
         Michael M. Achary, EVP and Chief Financial Officer
         800.522.6542 or 228.868.4725

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved


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