updated 5/26/2004 9:48:40 AM ET 2004-05-26T13:48:40

Wells Fargo & Co. has agreed to buy Strong Financial’s $34 billion in assets under management. Terms of the deal, announced Wednesday morning, were not disclosed.

The move came six days after Strong Financial and founder and former CEO Richard Strong reached a settlement of allegations of improper trading in Strong funds.

The deal will not include any legal entities of Strong Financial, a privately-held financial services firm based in the Milwaukee suburb of Menomonee Falls, the companies said. A Wall Street Journal article Wednesday priced the transaction at as much as $700 million.

Wells Fargo will gain $27 billion in assets in 70 mutual funds, the companies said. San Francisco-based Wells Fargo’s total assets under management would grow to $217 billion. Mutual fund assets would climb to $103 billion, ranking among the top 20 mutual fund companies in the U.S., Wells Fargo said.

Last week, Richard Strong agreed to pay $60 million fine and accept a lifetime ban from the industry for making personal trades in funds that harmed other investors. He is the highest level executive so far to admit his role in what has become an industrywide scandal.

The company will pay $115 million in penalties for allowing improper trades by Strong and other investors.

The settlement did not prohibit Richard Strong, who owns 85 percent of the company, from benefiting from the sale.

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