acquisition by Bank ofAmerica. BofA shareholders were scheduled to vote on thetransaction at a special meeting this morning. The vote follows theFederal Reserve board's approval of theacquisition this past Monday, and the European Union okayed thedeal on Thursday.


Under the terms of the transaction, which was announced on Sept.15--a day that also saw the collapse of Lehman Brothers--MerrillLynch will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of BofA. Merrill'sstockholders will receive 0.8595 of a share of BofA common stockfor each share of Merrill common stock held immediately prior tothe merger. The deal, which is expected to close by year's end,puts Merrill's value at about $50 billion.


"By approving this transaction, Merrill Lynch stockholdersexpressed confidence that thecombination of our firm and Bank ofAmerica will create one of the most powerful financial institutionsin the world, with unmatched capabilities and service," says JohnThain, Merrill's chairman and CEO, in a statement. "Thiscombination will create great value for our stockholders andclients around the world."


The addition of Merrill would give BofA a total of more than20,000 financial advisors, creating the world's largest financialbrokerage, as well as $2.5 trillion in client assets, according toa release. Additionally, BofA would assume an approximately 50%ownership in BlackRock, which has $1.4 trillion in assets undermanagement.


In a statement issued after the Merrill/BofA deal was announcedin September, BlackRock said the acquisition would have littleimpact on its day-to-day operations. "BlackRock is and, followingthe transaction will remain, an independent publicly tradedinvestment management firm," according to the statement. "Thistransaction has no effect on the structure of our board and willreinforce our independent governance."

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.