Business: Ambushing Wells Fargo

A pioneer bank and stagecoach company, Wells Fargo helped to open the West, as its storied drivers fought off desperadoes to bring back the gold from California's rich mines. Now the nation's 13th biggest bank, Wells Fargo has been less successful in conquering the new West. Last week Government trustbusters stopped the company from completing one of the biggest mergers in U.S. bank history—a deal that Wells Fargo's chiefs had hoped would expand their reach throughout California.

The intended partner was First Western Bank & Trust Co., which has assets of $1.1 billion v....

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