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Byline: Joseph N. DiStefano
Apr. 17--First Union Corp., the North Carolina financial giant whose acquistions have made it the largest bank here and the nation's sixth largest, yesterday said it was buying another North Carolina bank, Wachovia Corp., for $13 billion and would assume the Wachovia name.
The deal would make the combined bank the nation's fourth largest with more than $300 billion in loans and investment assets.
The most visible change here would be the removal of First Union's green-and-white logo from local bank branches, from the home of the Flyers and 76ers, and from the bike race that put Manayunk on the tourist map.
If the stock purchase is approved by shareholders and regulators -- and if no hostile suitor disrupts the low-price arrangement with a sweeter bid -- there would be 2,900 branches of Wachovia Bank along the East Coast, and the 76ers and Flyers would play at the Wachovia Center, by the summer of 2002.
The move would retire the First Union brand name, which had been tarnished -- especially in Philadelphia, where customer service problems just after its 1998 takeover of CoreStates Bank initially drove tens of thousands …