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Hancock Holding Co. launches common stock offering

Gulfport, Miss.-based Hancock Holding Co. has launched a public offering of 5 million shares of its common stock, with an option to purchase up to an additional 750,000 common shares.

Underwriters may offer common shares from time to time in over-the-counter market deals, or through negotiated transactions. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including potential strategic acquisitions and to support organic growth.

The offering is expected to close Dec. 16. Based on Hancock's closing price of $44.00 on Dec. 12, the shares in the offering are worth about $253.0 million, including the overallotment option.

Morgan Stanley is acting as the sole book-running manager for the transaction.