Mercer, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., has signed a definitive agreement to merge its investment consulting business with Callan Associates, the company reports. The acquisition will create one of the largest investment consulting businesses in the United States, analysts say.

The transaction is expected to close near the end of the first quarter of 2009. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Marsh is known for its insurance brokerage, and Mercer already owns Celent, an analyst firm that focuses on financial services and insurance.

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