Assured Guaranty Ltd. Friday agreed to purchase Financial Security Assurance Holdings Ltd., excluding its financial products business, from Franco-Belgian bank Dexia SA, making another major change to an already radically transformed bond insurance industry.

The $722 million deal - composed of cash and stock - will bring under one roof the two largest providers of bond insurance this year. It also continues the growth of Assured Guaranty, whose bond insurer subsidiary Assured Guaranty Corp. ranked near the bottom of the insurance tables for 2007 and only became rated triple-A by all three credit agencies in the middle of that year.

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