Bank of America may dissolve Merrill Lynch

Well, here’s a shocker.  Via Investment News:  Merrill Lynch, the 99-year-old firm known for its “thundering herd” of brokers pitching stocks to Main Street, may cease to exist as a legal entity more than four years after being acquired by Bank of America..

While Bank of America will keep the Merrill Lynch brand for its retail brokerage and investment bank, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company plans to dissolve the subsidiary as early as the fourth quarter, according to an Aug. 2 filing. The firm will assume all of Merrill Lynch’s obligations and debt.

Merging the legal entity could help Bank of America hit its $8 billion-a-year cost-cutting target.

The change is not expected to change Merrill Lynch’s public face … but take it from someone who has been through corporate buy-outs before – that’s what the firms always say just before the old brand disappears.

From the article:

Bank of America faced regulatory probes, investor lawsuits and criticism from lawmakers over claims it didn’t warn shareholders about Merrill Lynch‘s mounting losses before they voted to buy the firm for $18.5 billion.

Last year, Bank of America agreed to pay $2.43 billion to investors who suffered losses during the takeover, engineered by former CEO Kenneth D. Lewis as the world’s biggest financial firms teetered near collapse during the 2008 credit crisis. Merrill’s operations were credited with fortifying Bank of America in the years that followed as costs piled up from bad home loans and credit cards.

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