Checkfree Holdings Corp.'s purchase of Mobius Group for $18 million in stock is expected to raise the profile of Checkfree's investment services unit.

Privately held Mobius, with $6.6 million of 1998 revenue, is to be added to the unit created in May 1996 when Atlanta-based Checkfree bought Security APL Inc.

Checkfree's stock rose $7.50 last week, to $41.

Mobius of Raleigh, N.C., sells software that tracks the performance of money managers. It is unrelated to Mobius Management Systems Inc., a provider of document management software.

The deal, which closed last Monday, would make investment services the second-largest of Checkfree's three divisions.

Investment services is dwarfed by Checkfree's electronic commerce unit, which generated $41.3 million last quarter. Checkfree's software unit, which sells mostly automated clearing house applications, produced $9.5 million of revenue last quarter.

About 1,700 money managers, consultants, and financial planners use Mobius Group's data base software to track the performance and investment styles of 1,300 investment managers.

Checkfree's 225 brokerage and money manager customers would use the Mobius data base and its financial planning software to find the most appropriate money manager for a given investor, said Michael Everett, director of marketing at Checkfree.

Through the brokers using this software, "individual investors can have access to some of these firms, which really only pension funds and high- net-worth individuals have access to," he said.

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