MONROE, La. (AP) — The state's largest health insurer has reached a deal to acquire the majority ownership of the parent company of north Louisiana's Vantage Health Plan.

The firms said Wednesday that Vantage Holdings Inc. and Blue Cross have signed a definitive agreement for the deal. News outlets report Vantage will continue to be run as a separate company by its existing management team, and Blue Cross and Vantage will retain their own corporate and product brands after the transaction closes.

Vantage CEO Dr. Gary Jones says they believe the transaction will allow both companies to strategically grow more effectively, and for Vantage to expand in more markets outside of Louisiana. Jones says they hope to eventually bring more jobs in Monroe, where Vantage will continue to be headquartered.

The deal is pending regulatory and shareholder approval from Vantage Holdings shareholders.

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