Strong Capital Management of Menomonee Falls, Wis., the investment firm which manages the Strong family of funds and over $42 billion in assets, has announced it will exercise its option to acquire Strong Schafer Capital Management, the alliance between Strong and Schafer Capital Management.

Strong Capital Management entered into a marketing alliance with Schafer Capital Management in January 1996. That alliance led to the formation of Strong Schafer Capital Management the following year, which became the investment adviser to the Strong Schafer Value Fund. The agreement gave Strong the option to purchase Schafer's interest in the joint company beginning Jan. 10, 2001.

To exercise the option, Strong will have to obtain Schafer Value Fund shareholder approval. A proxy solicitation will be sent out in February, and pending approval, the deal should be completed in April, according to the company. If approved, Strong will have complete managerial control over the value fund, which has assets of $373 million, according to Morningstar of Chicago. The terms of the transaction have not been disclosed.

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