Heartland Financial in Dubuque, Iowa, has agreed to buy Premier Valley Bank in Fresno, Calif.

The $6.5 billion-asset Heartland said in a press release Friday that it will pay $95 million, or $7.73 a share, in cash and stock for the $647 million-asset Premier Valley. The acquisition, which will allow Heartland to expand into California, is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

Premier Valley will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Heartland and continue operating under its current name and management team. After the merger, Heartland will be in 11 states and have 95 branches and more than $7 billion in assets. Premier Valley will add five branches, $394 million in loans and $561 million in deposits.

Heartland said it expects the transaction to be accretive to its earnings per share within the first full year of combined operations.

"We are excited to expand the Heartland independent community banking business model into California," Lynn Fuller, Heartland's chairman and chief executive, said in the release. "Premier Valley has a strong commitment to community banking. … We are acquiring a talented team of experienced commercial banking professionals and staff with an excellent knowledge of the community and the clients they serve."

"Among the many alternatives for merger partners, we found Heartland to be the most attractive," J. Mike McGowan, Premier Valley's chief executive, said in the release. "The company has an excellent reputation, is financially sound, operates under a proven business model and is well-known as a forward-thinking business with a track record of successful acquisitions."

Sandler O'Neill and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton advised Premier Valley. Panoramic Capital Advisors and Dorsey & Whitney advised Heartland.

Heartland has been a busy acquirer recently, agreeing to buy First Scottsdale Bank in Arizona and Community Bancorp. of New Mexico in Santa Fe.

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