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Putnam to Merge More Funds

Putnam Investments is moving to concentrate its closed-end funds by combining some of them while merging others into open-end funds.

The plans include merging five tax-exempt closed-end funds: (PGM) Putnam Investment Grade Municipal Trust (PGM) and (PMG) Putnam Municipal Bond Fund (PMG) would be merged into (PMO) Putnam Municipal Opportunities Trust (PMO).

Additionally, (PYM) Putnam High Yield Municipal Trust (PYM) would be merged into (PMM) Putnam Managed Municipal Income Trust (PMM).

The news comes as Marsh & McLennan (MMC) earlier this month announced that it had agreed to sell Putnam to Great-West Lifeco (GWO.TO), a unit of Power Financial (PWF.TO) of Canada for $3.9 billion.

Putnam says the mergers would increase the size of the resulting funds to assets of approximately $1 billion for the Putnam Municipal Opportunities Trust and $750 million for the Putnam Managed Municipal Income Trust.

The company says that the mergers likely would reduce fund expenses and increase the liquidity in the trading market for the shares of each surviving fund.

The company also approved a plan to merge the (PMH) Putnam Tax-Free Health Care Fund (PMH) into the Putnam Tax Exempt Income Fund.

The initiative expands on a recently announced merger of the (PCA) Putnam California Investment Grade Municipal Trust (PCA) and (PMN) Putnam New York Investment Grade Municipal Trust (PMN) into a similar open-end Putnam fund.

Each of the merger plans is subject to the approval of fund shareholders. As of Jan. 31, Putnam managed $191 billion in assets, of which $123 billion was for mutual fund investors and $68 billion for institutional accounts.

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