When First Union Corp. said in July that it would to sell up to 90 branches as part of a massive restructuring, Firstar Corp. saw an opportunity ripe for the taking.

On Monday, Milwaukee-based Firstar announced plans to buy all 41 of First Union's branches in Tennessee, a state the Charlotte, N.C., company said it is ready to exit. The branches bring Firstar a total of $1.7 billion of deposits and $474 million of loans.

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