Bank of America Buys Merrill Lynch, Creating Unique Financial Services Firm
Combines Leading Global Wealth Management, Capital Markets and Advisory Company With Largest Consumer and Corporate Bank in U.S.
Charlotte — Bank of America Corporation today announced it has agreed to acquire Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. in a $50 billion all-stock transaction that creates a company unrivalled in its breadth of financial services and global reach.
"Acquiring one of the premier wealth management, capital markets, and advisory companies is a great opportunity for our shareholders,” Bank of America Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ken Lewis said. “Together, our companies are more valuable because of the synergies in our businesses.”
“Merrill Lynch is a great global franchise and I look forward to working with Ken Lewis and our senior management teams to create what will be the leading financial institution in the world with the combination of these two firms,” said John Thain, chairman and CEO of Merrill Lynch.
Under terms of the transaction, Bank of America would exchange .8595 shares of Bank of America common stock for each Merrill Lynch common share. The price is 1.8 times stated tangible book value.
Bank of America expects to achieve $7 billion in pretax expense savings, fully realized by 2012. The acquisition is expected to be accretive to earnings by 2010.
The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2009. It has been approved by directors of both companies and is subject to shareholder votes at both companies and standard regulatory approvals.
Under the agreement, three directors of Merrill Lynch will join the Bank of America Board of Directors.
The combined company would have leadership positions in retail brokerage and wealth management. By adding Merrill Lynch’s more than 16,000 financial advisers, Bank of America would have the largest brokerage in the world with more than 20,000 advisers and $2.5 trillion in client assets.
The combination brings global scale in investment management, including an approximately 50 percent ownership in BlackRock, which has $1.4 trillion in assets under management. Bank of America has $589 billion in assets under management.
Adding Merrill Lynch both enhances current strengths at Bank of America and creates new ones, particularly outside of the United States. Merrill Lynch adds strengths in global debt underwriting, global equities and global merger and acquisition advice.
After the acquisition, Bank of America would be the number one underwriter of global high yield debt, the third largest underwriter of global equity and the ninth largest adviser on global mergers and acquisitions based on pro forma first half of 2008 results.
Bank of America was advised by J.C. Flowers & Co. LLC, Fox-Pitt Kelton Cochran Caronia Wallerand Bank of America Securities. It was represented by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Merrill Lynch was represented by Shearman & Sterling.
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