Merrill (MER) "Moving Closer" To Blackrock, Bloomberg Sale

Merrill Lynch (MER) is “moving closer” to selling off its stakes in Bloomberg and Blackrock, the WSJ says.

Merrill is hoping to net $5 billion from its 20% stake in Bloomberg, valuing the entire company at about $25 billion. Bloomberg has a right of first refusal, which could complicate a deal.

Merrill’s 49% stake in Blackrock is worth about $12 billion, but Merrill will likely try to retain some of its interest in order to maintain a “strategic alliance” with the firm.

The sale of the two stakes is likely to net Merrill $5-$10 billion of cash (the Bloomberg sale is taxable). This will reduce the likelihood of further shareholder dilution in the face of an additional $6 billion writedown expected in Q2.

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