If Matt Wagner wrote a book called "Bank M&A for Dummies," the first two chapters might be titled "Only Pick Fights You Can Win" and "The Numbers Better Add Up."

The pugnacious chief executive of PacWest Bancorp (PACW) could base both lessons on his proposed $231 million takeover of First California Financial Group (FCAL) — a smaller L.A. rival that was deeply reluctant to sell.

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