Merrill Lynch sold its 20 percent stake in Bloomberg LP for $4.4 billion to the company, which exercised its right of first refusal. Initial reports had the stake going to founder Michael Bloomberg’s private trust but the company preempted other buyers, including the New York City mayor. Bloomberg LP is borrowing from Merrill to finance the acquisition. Release.
Update: The sale came up numerous times during ML’s earnings call. One excerpt from the transcript (via Seeking Alpha): UBS analyst Glenn Schorr asks ML CEO John Thain: “On the Bloomberg, I thought it was thought to be a good cash flower and a good yield and a good earner for Merrill. Can you just help me and re-explain why there