Wells Fargo & Co. is reportedly days away from acquiring Strong Capital Management in a deal valued at $400 to $500 million, CBS MarketWatch reported. Strong put itself on the block soon after its founder and former chairman, Richard Strong, admitted to conducting market-timing transactions within the firm's funds on his own behalf. The former chairman agreed pay $60 million in civil penalties as part of settlement with securities regulators and the firm reached a separate $80 million settlement. The firm also agreed to reduce shareholders' fees by as much as $7 million over the next five years, for a total of $35 million. Mutual fund consultant Burt Greenwald said the securities settlements significantly undercut the value of the firm by as much as 50% of its estimated $1 billion value in the late 1990s. Investors have withdrawn $5 billion of the firms assets since its legal problems began in September.
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