For the second time in less than six months, ReliaStar Financial Corp. of Minneapolis has shown that it is intent on building up its mutual fund business.

ReliaStar has agreed to acquire Lexington Global Asset Managers of Saddle Brook, N.J. in a cash and stock transaction valued at $47.5 million, the companies announced last week. Lexington's money management subsidiary is adviser to the 13 Lexington Funds.

ReliaStar will pay one-third of the purchase price in cash and two-thirds in ReliaStar common stock, the companies said. The sale is expected to close by June 30.

The acquisition of Lexington, which has approximately $3.6 billion in assets under management, helps build scale for ReliaStar's Pilgrim Funds, which include 32 open-end mutual funds and one closed-end fund. The Pilgrim Funds have approximately $15.3 billion in assets under management, a spokesperson said.

ReliaStar acquired Pilgrim Capital Corp. of Phoenix in October and folded ReliaStar's existing fund operations into Pilgrim.

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