TORONTO - Bank of Montreal has agreed to acquire Guardian Group of Funds Ltd. of Toronto from Guardian Capital Group Ltd. in a $180 million stock deal.

The deal, announced Tuesday, requires approval by regulators and the seller's shareholders and is expected to close by midsummer.

Guardian Group, which has $2 billion of assets under management in 31 mutual funds, would operate as an independent line of business. Buying it would boost Bank of Montreal's assets under management to $30 billion.

The bank now has five fund families: the BMO Mutual Funds, the Harris Insight Funds, the BMO Nesbitt Burns Funds, the Jones Heward Funds, and Monogram.

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