Sovereign Bancorp, the thrift company that plans to acquire 278 branches from Fleet Financial Group and BankBoston Corp., is reaffirming that the cost will be $1.4 billion.

Jay Sidhu, Sovereign's president and chief executive officer, said in an interview Thursday that an article in Tuesday's American Banker, reporting that Sovereign had to raise $1.9 billion to complete the transaction with the merging New England banking companies, was incorrect.

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