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Michael Fasciano remembers staying late a couple of years ago in his Chicago offices to help send out prospectuses for his small-cap blend


Fasciano fund. He won't be doing that anymore.

On Monday New York money manager

Neuberger Berman

announced its purchase of Fasciano's modest money management firm and the struggling, $240 million Fasciano fund, which it will add to its product line as the

Neuberger Berman Fasciano

fund. Fasciano will continue to run the no-load fund he's managed since its 1987 inception.

The fund gives Neuberger Berman a middle ground between the small-cap growth


Millennium fund and the


Genesis fund, which the firm calls small-cap value and which


classifies as small-cap blend.

Fasciano typically focuses on small-cap stocks -- those with market caps below $2 billion -- and blends the value and growth investment styles. Value investors essentially hunt for bargains in the stock market, while growth investors typically pay steep prices for the fastest-growing companies they can find.

For Fasciano, the deal is probably a big payday -- the terms of the deal weren't disclosed -- and also a way to partner up with a bigger shop in a consolidating industry.

The fund's record is fairly weak. Fasciano trails more than 85% of his small-cap blend peers over the last one-, three-, five- and 10-year periods, according to Morningstar. This year the fund is down 8.9%, trailing 81% of small-cap blend funds.

Much of this damage may have been done last year when the steep inflows led to a fat cash position. In 1999 the fund posted a 6.2% gain, trailing its peers by more than 55 percentage points.