JEFFERSON, La., May 29, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Stewart Enterprises, Inc. (Nasdaq:STEI) today announced that it has entered into a definitive merger agreement with Service Corporation International (NYSE:SCI) under which SCI will acquire Stewart in an all-cash merger with a total enterprise value of approximately $1.4 billion. Under the terms of the merger agreement, holders of Stewart's Class A and Class B common stock will receive $13.25 in cash for each share of common stock they hold. The per share consideration represents an approximate premium of 48 percent above the volume-weighted average closing price per share for the 30 calendar days ending May 23, 2013 of $8.97. The transaction will combine the two leading providers of funeral and cemetery services in the United States. Stewart's board of directors, acting upon the unanimous recommendation of a special committee of independent directors, unanimously approved the transaction and recommended that its shareholders approve the transaction. In connection with Stewart's entry into the merger agreement, Frank B. Stewart, Jr., chairman of the board of directors, entered into a voting agreement with SCI pursuant to which he has agreed to vote Class A and Class B shares of common stock representing 29.99% of the aggregate voting power of Stewart voting stock in favor of the transaction. Thomas M. Kitchen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Stewart, stated, "Our board of directors and management team believe that the merger with SCI offers superior value for our shareholders. We are looking forward to becoming part of an organization that shares our Best-in-Class vision of caring for families at their time of need. Our combined resources will make us accessible to more families throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico. The value offered to our shareholders is a reflection of the dedication and commitment of our 4,800 exceptional employees throughout the company who share a passion of service. We have also enjoyed the vision and energy of our chairman, Frank Stewart, who has devoted his 54-year career to this profession."