Between the fact that none of its funds earns even four stars out of Morningstar’s five-star rating system and investors still remember its central role in the mutual fund trading scandal, Putnam Investments is likely to earn a higher price than MFS Investments. That’s how MarketWatch columnist Chuck Jaffe sees it—even though MFS was also implicated in the scandal.The true value a buyer will likely see in Putnam is its distribution channels and $180 billion in assets under management, Jaffe says. MFS, on the other hand, which has $168 billion under management, runs a number of top-performing equity and bond funds.

“That combines to make MFS more attractive to a firm that doesn’t just want to bring cash into the fold, but that wants to keep some of the talent running that money, too,” Jaffe says.

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