NU Online News Service, April 27, 2005, 4:15 p.m. EDT

Catholic Knights plans to acquire a smaller fraternal benefit society, The Catholic Knights of America, through a merger.[@@]

The Catholic Knights of America, St. Louis, was formed in 1877. The company now known as Catholic Knights broke away in 1885.

Catholic Knights now has $97 million in annual revenue, and Catholic Knights of America generates about $9 million in annual revenue.

The boards of both societies have approved the merger, and the societies hope to get the approvals they need to complete the deal from society members and insurance regulators in Wisconsin and Missouri by the end of June, the societies say.

The merger would bring Catholic Knights 11,000 more members and give it licenses to operate in 7 more states. The additional states are Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas and West Virginia, Catholic Knights says.

Catholic Knights already has licenses to operate in 17 states.

Catholic Knights and Catholic Knights of America together raise about $1.9 million in funds for Catholic institutions and other charitable institutions, the societies say.