Merrill Lynch mulling Bloomberg sale?

26 October 2007

Merrill Lynch could be poised to sell its stake in Bloomberg, in the wake of significant losses in the third quarter, it has been speculated.

The mooted sale comes after Merrill this week revealed it was forced to write down $8.4 billion of assets for the last quarter.

This coupled with Merill chief executive Stan O' Neal's, , comments that the firm is mulling over selling "certain non-core assets" has led analysts to predict that the firm could sell of its 20 per cent stake in Bloomberg to raise capital.

James Ellman, president of Seacliff Capital, which holds shares in Merrill, told Reuters: "Assets like Bloomberg are a great rainy day fund for Merrill Lynch. Guess what? It's pouring."

Should Merrill opt to sell its shareholding it is expected to raise between $5-10 billion.

However, its range of buyers is limited by a clause in the conditions of sale stipulating that the stake cannot be sold to a direct competitor.

Bloomberg also has first refusal to buy the stake, according an unnamed source cited by the news agency.

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