WELLS Fargo says it will sell 61 branches which together hold US$2.5 billion in deposits to eliminate antitrust objections to its planned $11.6 billion purchase of First Interstate Bancorp. Wells Fargo expected the acquisition to be completed on April 1. It said branch sales were part of an agreement with state and federal regulators and talks with potential buyers were under way. The bank, California's second-biggest, agreed last month to buy First Interstate, the state's third-biggest, for stock. The agreement came after a three-month fight in which First Interstate had resisted Wells Fargo's hostile bid.