Pioneer Group of Boston has hired Salomon Smith Barney, a unit of Citigroup and Merrill Lynch, both of New York, as investment bankers to help the firm consider its "strategic alternatives." Those alternatives could include a sale of the firm.

According to a Feb. 11 statement the firm released along with its 1999 fourth quarter financial results, Pioneer has hired the two investment bankers to conduct a financial analysis of the company's lines of business. Both investment banks will then assist the Pioneer board and company executives in evaluating strategic alternatives, the company said in a statement.

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