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Jolly Green Giant tells Simpsons to pay up; also: Wells Fargo says Wachovia merger will go forward, but questions raised about cost to taxpayers

The credit crunch is making it difficult for some consumers to finance big-ticket items, like frozen peas. In Springfield, at least. Last night’s episode of “The Simpsons” features Minnesota’s own Jolly Green Giant and his pal Sprout as good cop-bad cop collection agents. They want Marge Simpson to pay up on the frozen peas she bought on an installment plan. Watch the clip below:

Wells Fargo says its contested bid to buy Wachovia will go forward. That’s after an appellate court on Sunday overturned a decision to block the merger, MarketWatch reports. Last week, Citigroup struck a deal to buy Wachovia’s mortgages four days before Wells Fargo said it was buying the entire company. The appellate court ruling doesn’t settle the dispute. The Federal Reserve is reportedly trying to negotiate an arrangement where Wells Fargo and Citgroup would each buy a portion of Wachovia.

Wells Fargo’s claim that its deal doesn’t depend on government assistance isn’t exactly true, the Washington Post reports. An IRS rule change on Tuesday meant to encourage such mergers will allow Wells Fargo to shelter an estimated $74 billion in profits from taxation. Just before the weekend, I spoke with a taxation professor at the University of Minnesota about the IRS rule change for this post.

More Wells Fargo: Just days ago, Wachovia was on the brink of total collapse. So why is it now the object of a legal and bidding war between Citigroup and Wells Fargo? BusinessWeek asks. The financial crisis offers a “once in a lifetime” chance for the largest banks to get “truly huge,” one consultant says. That’s because federal regulators seem to be ignoring antitrust laws that previously restricted giants like JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America from becoming more dominant.

Do you have an inside scoop or news tip about a Minnesota company? Spotted something interesting in your RSS reader? Drop Business Agenda a note at dhaugen [at] minnpost [dot] com.

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