Asset management firm Dreyfus will market $4.7 billion in Bear Stearns assets, the companies said on Tuesday, in a deal that could help the firms avoid conflicts from promoting their own funds.

The agreement, reached after months of negotiation and due diligence, calls for the transfer of approximately $3 billion of money market assets and $1.7 billion of long-term assets to new or existing Dreyfus-managed funds.

Dreyfus, the mutual fund arm of Mellon Financial, will serve as manager and Dreyfus Service Corp. will serve as distributor of the new or existing Dreyfus-managed funds involved in this strategic arrangement. Bear Stearns will sub-advise certain equity assets of the former Bear Stearns funds. The deal is expected to close by the end of the second quarter of 2004, pending approval from Bear Stearns mutual fund shareholders and its board of directors.

Dreyfus will give Bear Stearns a much-needed facelift with respect to its sales force, which currently has just 500 employees, given its 50 years of experience and longstanding distribution relationships. Meanwhile, the timing of the deal couldn’t be better as state and federal regulators are uncovering a slew of improprieties at dozens of fund shops.

Bear Stearns will serve as sub-advisor to the newly formed Dreyfus funds that will correspond to the existing S&P STARS Portfolio, Alpha Growth Portfolio and Intrinsic Value Portfolio. Other Bear Stearns Funds will be reorganized into established funds within the Dreyfus Premier Family of Funds and be managed by Dreyfus.

Additionally, Bear Stearns' S&P STARS Opportunities Portfolio and Prime Money Market Portfolio will become funds within the Dreyfus Family of Funds and will be managed by Dreyfus. The Bear Stearns U.S. Dollar Cash Reserves Fund, an offshore money market fund, will become part of the Dreyfus-managed Universal Liquidity Plus Fund, an offshore money market fund.

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