Security Benefit Buys Rydex

Security Benefit beat out E*Trade, among others, in bidding for the investment management company.
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Mutual and exchange-traded fund management firm

Rydex Investments

has agreed to sell itself to retirement investment company

Security Benefit


Closely-held Rydex, based in Rockville, Md., manages about $15 billion in assets. Combining with Topeka, Kan.-based Security Benefit is expected to represent roughly $35 billion in assets under management and $52 billion of assets under administration at closing. The combined company will have about 1,000 employees.

Terms of the offering where not disclosed, and a Rydex spokeswoman declined to comment on deal terms.

Rumors about a possible Rydex sale have swirled over the past few years since its founder, Skip Viragh, died of pancreatic cancer in 2004. Rydex is run by CEO Carl Verboncoeur.

"We met with a number of companies and there was significant interest in Rydex in the marketplace," said Verboncoeur during a late morning conference call Thursday.

As reported by


many players stepped up to take a run for Rydex, including

E*Trade Financial

(ETFC) - Get Report



(IVZ) - Get Report

, according to people familiar with the bidding. A sale price was expected to be in the $800 million range.

"I wouldn't want to comment on who the specific players were," said Verboncoeur, responding to query. Both he and Security Benefit CEO Kris Robbins declined to discuss deal terms, including sale price.

Robbins said that the two companies were a good fit because the management teams know each other and both are privately held. Rydex will operate as a standalone business, with Verboncoeur reporting to Robbins.

The merger is expected to close early in the fourth quarter.