Waddell & Reed Financial of Overland Park, Kan., has announced it plans to acquire The Legend Group, a mutual fund distribution and retirement planning company based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., for $61 million in cash and contingent cash payments of up to $14 million over three years.

The Legend Group provides 403(b) retirement plans to employees of school districts and other not-for-profit organizations through a network of nearly 300 financial advisors, according to Tom Butch, Waddell's chief marketing officer. The acquisition will help the company open a new distribution channel in the 403(b) market, he said.

At the end of last year, The Legend Group had approximately 61,000 clients with $3.1 billion in assets. It had 39.1 million in revenue and earned $7.7 million before taxes in 1999, the company said.

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