Wells Fargo & Co.'s desire to repay bailout funds may be hindered by a $5 billion debt owed to Prudential Financial Inc. that could drain the banking company's cash or dilute current shareholders.

Wells Fargo, a recipient of $25 billion in aid, must pay Prudential for a 23% stake in the San Francisco company's securities brokerage unit. The stake could be bought for cash or stock around Jan. 1, according to a Prudential third-quarter filing, but most analysts said Wells would use shares.

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