MEMPHIS -- First Tennessee National Corp. said Wednesday that its securities affiliate has agreed to buy nearly all of the assets of Midwest Research-Maxus Group Ltd., an institutional equity research firm in Cleveland.

The price of the deal, which is expected to close in the first week of January, was not disclosed.

Midwest Research-Maxus Group would become a division of the $19.2 billion-asset banking company’s First Tennessee Securities Corp. unit.

The purchase would increase First Tennessee’s research coverage by about 120 companies and effectively provide an equity platform for First Tennessee’s capital markets business, which has focused on fixed-income products. Midwest has 63 employees, including 26 researchers, 13 salespeople, and six traders.

Gary Grear and Bill Bischoff, chairman and chief executive and president and chief operating officer at First Tennessee Securities, will lead the business. Joining them from Midwest Research will be Evan Morgan, currently chairman and chief executive, and Eric Bosshard, director of research. The firm, founded in February 1996 by eight members of the Cleveland research and money management firm Roulston & Co., is to keep the Midwest Research part of its name.

The agreement follows First Tennessee Securities’ formation of an equity capital markets group during the third quarter to trade bank and thrift stocks, provide institutional equity research, and do some corporate finance.

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