WASHINGTON - Wachovia Securities LLC and Wachovia Capital Markets LLC agreed to buy back at par $8.8 billion of auction-rate securities from retail and other investors under a preliminary settlement agreement with state and federal regulators announced Friday.

The 10th-largest ARS underwriter according to Thomson Reuters, Wachovia joins four other firms that have entered into ARS settlement agreements: JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley, which settled with state regulators Thursday; and Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and UBS AG, which settled with state and federal regulators the previous week.

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