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U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray Mergers and Acquisitions Group Releases Report On Outlook for Middle Market Mergers and Acquisitions in 2004

Bankers See Strategic Acquirers Re-Entering the Marketplace

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray (Piper Jaffray) Middle Market Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) group recently released a report on the outlook for M&A activity in the middle market in 2004. The report, entitled Middle Market M&A Outlook 2004, offers a detailed discussion of the market in 2004 from the perspective of both sellers and buyers and examines what companies are best positioned to capitalize on next year's trends. In addition, the report provides a review of M&A activity in 2003 in terms of transaction volume and the impact of economic drivers.

"We are enthusiastic about the M&A market for 2004," said Glenn Gurtcheff, managing director and co-head of Middle Market M&A at Piper Jaffray. "2003 is on pace to be the first year since 1998 that shows an increase in the number of M&A transactions. Buyer demand remains strong and private equity firms, aided by liquid financing markets and an abundance of uninvested capital, continue to pursue top-tier opportunities aggressively."

"Strategic acquirers have shown increased signs of life," said Jeff Rosenkranz, managing director and co-head of Middle Market M&A at Piper Jaffray. "Those companies with strong balance sheets and a clear focus have been aggressively bidding on targets that are strategic fits. In addition, we believe that the improving economy should lead to an increase in supply in the M&A market, as both private and corporate owners choose to sell their businesses off of improving financial performance."

To access Middle Market M&A Outlook 2004, clients should go to www.gotoanalysts.com/outlook2004 ; members of the media should contact Dana Wade at dwade@pjc.com or 415-277-1556.

U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, a subsidiary of the consolidated group of U.S. Bancorp (NYSE: USB), is a focused securities firm comprised of two revenue- generating segments: Capital Markets and Private Client Services. Clients of both segments are supported by Investment Research. The firm provides a full range of investment products and services to individuals, institutions and businesses. The firm has over 126 offices in 25 states across the country. U.S. Bancorp offers a comprehensive range of financial solutions through U.S. Bank, U.S. Bancorp Asset Management, U.S. Bancorp Investments and U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray. For more information on U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, visit www.piperjaffray.com .

SOURCE U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding U.S. Bancorp's business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.



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