Firstar Corp. said Wednesday that it will slash 2,500 jobs, or 26% of its staff, in a major cost-cutting initiative to avoid takeover.

The $19 billion-asset company plans to reduce costs by $110 million and boost revenues by $30 million by the second quarter of 1997.

Milwaukee-based Firstar will also take a $31 million after-tax charge in the first quarter relating to the restructuring. About 1,400 positions will be cut through layoffs, and the rest through attrition, over 17 months.

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