Though Firstar Corp. is buying U.S. Bancorp, Firstar’s $16 billion family of mutual funds will probably use U.S. Bancorp’s better-known fund name, analysts say.

And the sizable distribution network of Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray — the brokerage arm of U.S. Bancorp — will provide a much broader potential market for Firstar’s family of mutual funds.

Milwaukee-based Firstar will determine which funds will stand alone and which funds will merge. However, it will not give its own funds preference over Piper Jaffray’s $34 billion-asset First American family of mutual funds, said Eric Rothman, analyst at First Security Van Kasper in San Francisco.

Firstar has always chosen to lead with the best products available after a buyout, Mr. Rothman said. “That way you’re always leveraging up your capabilities.”

Burton Greenwald, a mutual fund consultant based in Philadelphia, said Piper Jaffray will push only those Firstar funds that have that have performed well for a long time.

Analysts said that Firstar has many such funds, but that its track record will probably improve when redundant or underperforming funds are combined with stronger First American funds. But few of the funds will be redundant.

Firstar and First American, which will have a combined $50 billion of assets under management, will have more redundancy in back office systems, said James Bradshaw, an analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co. in Portland, Ore. Piper Jaffray’s management is likely to wind up running the combined unit, as it is the larger and more profitable of the two fund groups, he said.

It’s too early to tell which funds or advisers will be eliminated, said Mr. Rothman. Nonetheless, most observers expect Firstar’s name to be eliminated in favor of Piper Jaffray’s over time.

There will be little overlap in the investment strategies of the banks’ fund units, analysts said. First American’s tends to be more growth oriented, while Firstar has a stronger fixed-income management department, Mr. Bradshaw said.

The combined unit will be the country’s seventh-largest mutual fund processing company and will have 45 mutual funds with four-star or five-star ratings from Morningstar.

Firstar’s small but growing high-net-worth business will also benefit from U.S. Bancorp’s size and experience, said Jon Arfstrom, an analyst at Dain Raucher Wessels in Minneapolis.

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