Mellon Financial Corp. will buy Unifi Network, a human resources consulting and outsourcing unit of PriceWaterhouseCoopers. The $275 million deal is expected to close early in the first quarter of next year. Other terms were not disclosed, the company said in a statement.

Mellon plans to combine Unifi with Buck Consultants and Mellon Employee Benefit Solutions (MEBS), part of the human resources and consulting arm of Mellon’s Global Investment Services division. As a result, Mellon will be the fourth-largest provider of HR consulting and administration services worldwide, according to the company.

"Unifi and Mellon can better reach the unit’s market potential and avoid the regulatory constraints Unifi faced as part of our firm," said PwC U.S. Senior Partner Samuel DiPiazza Jr. in a statement. Approximately 2,500 employees work for Unifi at offices around the country. The company had revenues of $351 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2001.

MEBS has 800 employees in seven offices nationwide servicing almost 1,500 defined-contribution and defined-benefit plans and health and welfare programs. Jude Metcalfe, MEBS’ CEO, said in a statement, "With this acquisition, we will offer plan sponsors a wider variety of human resources services, both bundled and unbundled, including resources outsourcing solutions that range from total benefits to learning management tools."

Buck Consultants employs nearly 3,000 people in more than 50 offices in 16 countries. Its consulting areas include retirement programs, employee benefits, actuarial services and HR management.

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