The initial report from the Wall Street Journal is skeletal (hat tip reader Randy(:
Bank of America and Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc. are in merger discussions, according to people familiar with the matter.
The talks come amid a Wall Street scramble to sort out a potential liquidation of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
Bank of America had considered buying Lehman, but when those talks failed to result in a deal, BofA turned its attention to Merrill, which is considered a better fit for the bank.
Much remains uncertain and conditions were fluid.
This does lend credence to the view that things at Merrill are as bad as the worrywarts thought.
Update 5:10 PM: Readers Jim B and Saboor pointed to this report at the New York Times’ Dealbook:
Bank of America is in advanced talks to buy Merrill Lynch for at least $38.25 billion in stock, people briefed on the negotiations said on Sunday, as a means to preserve that investment bank while Lehman Brothers looks likely to collapse.
The move suggests a desperate effort at triage on Wall Street, as Bank of America works to shore up the likely next victim of the credit crunch. A deal, valued at between $25 a share to $30 a share, could be announced as soon as Sunday night, these people said. Merrill shares closed at $17.05 on Friday.