Firstar Corporation of Milwaukee has agreed to merge with U.S. Bancorp of Minneapolis through an exchange of shares valued at $21.2 billion, Firstar announced last week. The transaction, in which Firstar will exchange 1.265 shares of common stock for each share of U.S. Bancorp common stock in a tax-free exchange, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2001, Firstar said.

The combined company will operate under the U.S. Bancorp name and will be based in Minneapolis, according to Firstar. It will be the eighth largest bank holding company in the U.S., with $145 billion in assets under management, Firstar said.

The combined company's wealth management business will have $145 billion in assets under management including $50 billion in mutual fund assets, according to Firstar. U.S. Bancorp currently has $33 billion in assets under management, and Firstar brings $17 billion in 55 funds. Some of the funds will be merged into others, bringing the total to 32 funds as of late November, according to a Firstar spokesperson.

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