J.P. Morgan Chase said on Wednesday that it is purchasing Chicago-based Banc One Corp., not only creating a banking giant, but also spawning the fourth-largest fund firm, according to research firm Lipper of New York

The deal, for a reported $58 billion in stock, would place the combined firm steadily among the top five mutual fund complexes. While the fund business was not the main reason for the deal, rather a component of the overall transaction, it does give the combined company significant traction in this space. The deal puts the combined assets slightly ahead, by $3 billion, compared to Bank of America and FleetBoston, which announced their merger intentions in October (see MME 11/03/03).

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