Wells Fargo & Co. said late Wednesday that it would buy First Place Financial Corp. of Farmington, N.M., for $193.4 million of stock.

First Place is the state's largest independent bank, with $923 million of assets. It operates four banks with 17 locations.

Wells, with $205 billion of assets, presently has 143 branches in New Mexico. The deal is scheduled to close in the first quarter.

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