Insurance broker Marsh & McLennan Companies said Thursday that it would sell Putnam Investments to Great-West Lifeco for $3.9 billion.
Great-West Lifeco, a financial services holding company, is controlled by Canada-based Power Financial.
Both boards have approved the transaction, and they expect it to close in the middle of this year.
Analysts had expected the Marsh & McLennan, the world's largest insurance broker, to sell Putnam for between $3 billion to $6 billion, with most estimates in the $4 billion to $4.5 billion range.
Putnam has suffered from rising redemptions and poor performances by its top funds. Marsh & McLennan put it on the block in September after pressure from investors.