Community First Bankshares is moving to enter the California market with a deal to buy Valley National Corp. in El Cajon, Calif., for $65 million of stock.

The deal price represents 3.25 times Valley National's book value and 22.5 times its projected 1999 earnings. Valley National is the $241 million-asset parent of Valle de Oro Bank. It operates six branches around San Diego.

Community First, a $5.9 billion-asset company with operations in 11 states, said Valley National would provide a platform to make more acquisitions in California.

Valley National was represented by Hovde Financial Inc. in the transaction, which is expected to close in the third quarter.

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