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What Really Happened with Merrill and B of A

Posted by Larry Doyle on February 5, 2009 8:24 AM |

A fascinating look behind the scenes as to what really happened. Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America, went from serving the best interests of his country to being pressured by Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson to complete the deal. Here’s an excerpt:

Messrs. Paulson and Bernanke forcefully urged Mr. Lewis not to walk away, praising the bank’s earlier cooperation — but warning that abandoning the deal would be a death sentence for Merrill. They said the move also could undercut confidence in Bank of America, both in the markets and among government officials. Despite the blunt talk, Bank of America executives interpreted the comments as a signal that the government was willing to work out a compromise.

This deal is reflective of the fact that the world of global finance is in uncharted waters.

In Merrill Deal, U.S. Played Hardball
by Dan Fitzpatrick, Susanne Craig and Deborah Solomon
The Wall Street Journal; February 5, 2009 

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