In a deal to solidify its status as Canada's largest mutual fund company and strengthen its hand against foreign-owned competitors, Investors Group of Winnepeg, Manitoba, has agreed to acquire the fifth-largest firm, Mackenzie Financial of Toronto.

Investors Group, a 67.9 percent-owned subsidiary of Power Financial of Montreal, announced last week that it had received the endorsement of Mackenzie's board for its $2.77 billion offer. (All amounts in U.S. dollars.) Subject to regulatory approval and assuming that no competing offer trumps Investors', the deal is expected to close in April.

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