Updated to add Wilson comment, latest share price.



) --

Wells Fargo

(WFC) - Get Wells Fargo & Company Report

said Wednesday that it has repaid the government's $25 billion investment related to the Troubled Asset Relief Program, along with $131.9 million in accrued dividends.

To date, the firm has paid $1.44 billion in dividends on the preferred stock investment, which was made in October 2008. By repaying its TARP funds, Wells Fargo is avoiding future dividend payments of roughly $1.25 billion a year.

"We thank the U.S. government and taxpayers for their support of our financial system at a critical time for our nation," CEO John Stumpf said in a statement.

The Treasury Department continues to hold warrants that give it the right to purchase 110 million Wells Fargo shares at a price of $34.01 apiece. Linus Wilson, a finance professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who has studied the TARP warrants extensively, estimates that the warrants are worth roughly $775 million.

It's unclear whether Wells Fargo will purchase them outright, as

Goldman Sachs

(GS) - Get Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (GS) Report

did, or auction them as

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JPMorgan Chase

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Wells Fargo's move follows

Bank of America's

(BAC) - Get Bank of America Corp Report

repayment of $45 billion in TARP funds earlier this month.


(C) - Get Citigroup Inc. Report

also recently raised $17 billion in a stock offering to repay $20 billion in TARP money, though it has not completed the transaction yet.

In recent trading, the stock was down 33 cents, or 1.2%, at $26.83. Volume of 15.2 million compared to the issue's trailing three-month daily average of 51 million.

-- Written by Lauren Tara LaCapra in New York


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