T. Rowe Price Group Inc. agreed to pay $138 million for a 26% stake in UTI Asset Management Co., an India asset manager.

UTI has assets under management of $17.2 billion, or 10% of the Indian mutual fund market, and just under 10 million accounts.

Selling stakes of 6.5% each are the government-run State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda and the state-run Life Insurance Corp. of India.

The decision to involve T. Rowe as a partner came after weak market conditions forced UTI to abort plans for an initial public offering in July 2008. The deal is likely to bolster UTI's position in the crowded Indian asset management business.

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