VALDOSTA, Ga. - PAB Bankshares said Tuesday that it would enter Florida by buying $50 million-asset Friendship Community Bank in Ocala for $7.6 million.

Friendship's two branches, both in Ocala, would operate under PAB's charter. The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

R. Bradford Burnette, president and chief executive officer of $720 million-asset PAB, said he hopes to make many acquisitions in Northern Florida, a growing market that his bank finds very attractive. Valdosta is only 15 miles from the Florida border.

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