und managers seeking the ear of the roughly 14,000 Merrill Lynch financial consultants had better change their booking schedule to add Bloomberg TV and drop CNBC post haste. The nation's largest broker will be changing channels next week.
Merrill Lynch honchos are in a tiff over negative comments made about the firm on CNBC's "Kudlow and Cramer" talk show. In response, they have barred their brokerage staff from watching CNBC in the office. Merrill is making its employees switch the channel to Bloomberg Television instead.
Both Lawrence Kudlow and James Cramer reportedly made comments critical of Merrill during a recent program. Kudlow has called on both Merrill Chairman David H. Komansky and Merrill CEO E. Stanley O'Neal to resign. Cramer had wondered whether Merrill's involvement with Enron would cause the firm to ultimately fail. The boycott applies to 20,000 Merrill employees who have access to the financial news station through their desktop computer.
Bloomberg TV should be a safer bet for the firm as Merrill retains a 20 percent ownership stake in Bloomberg LP. CNBC, of course, is owned by General Electric.
Merrill's move also reflects the waning influence of CNBC in investors and financial advisors. Still, the drop-off in attention paid to financial media is not stopping fund managers to book CNBC as a regular stop for their portfolio managers. Perhaps now they should book Bloomberg also.
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