The Ivy Funds of Boca Raton, Fla., is asking shareholders to merge three of the group's 19 funds to eliminate overlaps in the Ivy Funds' offerings.

Ivy is asking shareholders to approve the merger of the $4.3 million Ivy Pan-Europe Fund into the $204.6 million European Opportunities Fund; the $4.1 million Ivy South America Fund into the $14.7 million Ivy Developing Markets Fund; and the $75.5 million Ivy Growth with Income Fund into the $15.2 million Ivy U.S. Blue Chip Fund.

Ivy outlined the proposals in three preliminary proxy statements the funds filed with the SEC April 21. Shareholders are scheduled to vote on the proposals in June, according to the proxy statement.

Fund companies usually merge smaller funds into larger funds. Ivy is bucking that trend with respect to the Growth with Income Fund's proposed merger. Ivy wants to merge the larger Growth with Income Fund into the smaller U.S. Blue Chip Fund because it believes there is more demand among investors selecting blue-chip funds as part of their asset allocation plans, said Maxine Bergstein, a spokesperson for the funds.

The Growth with Income Fund's class A shares had an 11 percent annual return in 1999 and carry a three-star rating from Morningstar of Chicago, the fund tracker. The class A shares for the U.S. Blue Chip Fund returned 15.3 percent last year, according to Morningstar. The fund, which is less than two years old, does not have a Morningstar rating.

The Ivy Funds have $3.2 billion in assets under management.

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