Merrill Lynch Investment Management
(MLIM) is back off the block. Merrill Lynch's head of finance emphasized
the importance of MLIM to a Dow Jones reporter on Tuesday.
"It's a very core part of the business," Ahmass Fakahany, the company's chief financial officer, told the reporter. "We are not divesting," Fakahany said.
Merrill hopes to make MLIM "a bigger part of Merrill Lynch," through "opening its architecture and making alliances and joint ventures where they make sense," said Fakahany.
News that Legg Mason
would acquire a stake in MLIM hit the stands in late May. At that time, a banker told Bloomberg
that the asset manager could go for $6.4 billion or more, while an anonymous source told the NY Post
that industry watchers had it all wrong -- the unit was not for sale.
In the Post's
scenario, MLIM and Legg Mason would form an operations company spin-off that would be majority-owned by MLIM. This scenario still seems consistent with Fakahany's statements.
Regarding the Legg Mason deal specifically, Dow Jones
reported that Fakahany commented only "[Merrill is] busy trying to grow this business and looking at alternatives."
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