The rapidly growing exchange-traded funds shop PowerShares Capital Management has been scooped up by Amvescap in a deal that industry insiders characterize as unusual.

Atlanta-based Amvescap will pay $60 million for PowerShares, a two-year-old company that in just the last 12 months has rolled out 32 ETFs, and will gain about $3.5 billion in assets. Until the deal was announced, Wheaton, Ill.-based PowerShares enjoyed one-of-a-kind status in the market place as its sole, stand-alone ETF provider. That fact adds an interesting asterisk to the acquisition, experts told Dow Jones.

"It's the first primarily broker-sold fund family acquiring an ETF family," said Dan Culloton, an analyst with Morningstar in Chicago.

The deal also underscores the growing popularity of ETFs and, likewise, their importance in a money manager's product portfolio, Culloton observed.

"In the coming year, fund firms are going to be interested in getting a piece of the action; whether they're launching their own [or] watching for another entrepreneurial startup along the lines of PowerShares to get going," he said.

Marty Flanagan, president and CEO of Amvescap, which is the parent company to the AIM Investments group of mutual funds, said the acquisition reiterates the firm's mission to provide a broad range of investment management products to its clients.

The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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