Merrill 'to sell Bloomberg stake'

10 July 2008

News agency Bloomberg might buy 20 per cent of its own shares back from Merrill Lynch.

The $5 billion sale would raise the proportion of stock held within the Michael Bloomberg-owned company to around 92 per cent.

It is understood that the investment bank will be willing to sell due to the heavy financial hit it has taken from the credit crunch - which has seen Merrill write off around $30 billion of assets.

Additionally, the bank is currently thought to be looking to sell some of its 49.8 per cent stake in private equity group BlackRock, in order to further shore up its balance sheet.

Merrill releases its second quarter results next week, where it is expected to announce a further $6 billion of credit crunch-related asset writedowns.

Shares in the bank - which is refusing to comment on the Bloomberg sale reports - are trading at around $31.79, three per cent down on before.

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