The senior debt rating of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc., New York, has been placed on Rating Watch Negative by Fitch Ratings in the wake of an announcement that the company will acquire Kroll Inc., a risk consulting company that serves the mortgage industry and others, for $1.9 billion.The rating agency attributed the action to "uncertain financing plans," saying that the debt rating would likely be lowered if the acquisition is funded chiefly with debt. The Kroll acquisition is a significant move for MMC, as Kroll has itself acquired The Credit Network and Factual Data in the past two years, making it a leader in the risk mitigation, credit, and fraud arena within the mortgage technology industry. For the past three years, Mortgage Technology magazine, a sister publication of Mortgage Wire, has featured Kroll in its list of the industry's top 100 mortgage technology vendors. Fitch can be found on the Web at http://www.fitchratings.com.

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