First Union Corp. of Charlotte, N.C., will pay approximately $1.1 billion in stock to purchase EVEREN Capital Corp. of Chicago, the companies announced last week. First Union said the merger will give it national retail distribution.

EVEREN, with approximately 1,800 registered representatives, has its highest concentration of offices in Illinois, California, Wisconsin, Ohio, Texas and Colorado. First Union's broker/dealer operations primarily are in the eastern half of the U.S. Executives expect the transaction to close by Sept. 30.

EVEREN has $16 billion in mutual fund assets under management while First Union has $54 billion.

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