BlackRock and Merrill Lynch Join Forces in Asset Management

February 15, 2006 ( - BlackRock Inc. and Merrill Lynch have announced an agreement to merge Merrill Lynch Investment Management (MLIM) with BlackRock to form a new independent investment management firm.

According to  the announcement , the new firm will operate under the BlackRock name and be governed by a board of directors with a majority of independent members.   The new firm will have nearly $1 trillion in assets under management.

Laurence Fink, CEO of BlackRock, will serve as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the combined company, and Ralph Schlosstein will continue to serve as President and a Director, the announcement said.   Robert Doll, President and Chief Investment Officer of MLIM, will become a Vice Chairman, CIO of Global Equities, and Chairman of the Private Client Operating Committee.

The new BlackRock will provide investment offerings in every major asset class, encompassing equity, fixed income, liquidity, and alternatives.  Capabilities will include US and non-US products in each asset class, including products created in investment centers in the US, London, Edinburgh, Tokyo, and Australia.  Various products will be available as separate accounts, open-end funds and closed-end funds.

BlackRock will also continue to provide risk management and advisory services to institutional clients through BlackRock Solutions.

As a result of the transaction, The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., which bought BlackRock in 1995 and currently owns 70% of the company, will maintain a 34% share in the combined company, and approximately 17% will be held by employees and public shareholders.   Merrill Lynch’s stake will go to 49.8%, and it will have a 45% voting interest in the combined company.

The transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies, is expected to close in the third quarter of 2006, subject to regulatory approvals.

Other details of the merger were announced earlier this week (See  Report: Merrill Lynch Poised to Purchase Share of BlackRock ).

A presentation for investors about the deal is  here .