It ranked as the richest takeover of 1995, but Colonial BancGroup maintains that the 350% of book value it paid for Southern Banking Corp. was a good deal.

Colonial, based in Montgomery, Ala., now has a vehicle with which to enter Florida. Southern, whose principal subsidiary is $225 million-asset Southern Bank of Central Florida, has reported rapid growth and will likely form the base for Colonial's expansion in the Sunshine State.

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