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by CareyBot

Wells Fargo & Co. has the go-ahead from federal antitrust regulators to acquire Wachovia Corp. in a $12 billion deal that will create a combined company with $1.42 trillion in assets, 48 million customers, and community banks in 39 states.Although Wachovia shareholders must still approve the deal -- and a rival suitor for Wachovia, Citigroup, remains determined to pursue a $60 billion breach-of-contract suit -- Wells Fargo said it plans to complete the acquisition by the end of the year.After agreeing last month to absorb up to $42 billion in losses on loans on Wachovia's books to acquire the Charlotte, N.C.-based company's banking operations (see Inman News story), Citigroup was outflanked by a competing offer from Wells Fargo.The Federal Trade Commission agreed to an early terminatio...