Bank of America Completes Merrill Lynch Purchase



    
    Gains Strength in Wealth Management, International and Investment Banking
    Businesses

    
    CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 1 /CNW/ -- Bank of America Corporation today
completed its purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. creating a premier
financial services franchise with significantly enhanced wealth management,
investment banking and international capabilities.
    
    (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20050720/CLW086LOGO-b )
    
    "We created this new organization because we believe that wealth
management and corporate and investment banking represent significant growth
opportunities, especially when combined with our leading capabilities in
consumer and commercial banking," said Bank of America Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer Ken Lewis. "We are now uniquely positioned to win market
share and expand our leadership position in markets around the world."
    Bank of America will have the largest wealth management business in the
world with approximately 20,000 financial advisors and more than $2 trillion
in client assets. Global investment management capabilities will include
approximately 50 percent ownership in BlackRock Inc., which at September 30
had $1.26 trillion in assets under management. Bank of America had $564
billion in assets under management in the same period.
    The combination also adds strengths in debt and equity underwriting,
sales and trading, and merger and acquisition advice, creating significant
opportunities to deepen relationships with corporate and institutional clients
around the globe.
    Under terms of the agreement, shareholders of Merrill Lynch received
.8595 shares of Bank of America common stock for each common share of Merrill
Lynch.
    As previously announced, Bank of America expects to achieve $7 billion in
pre-tax expense savings, fully realized by 2012. Cost reductions will come
from a range of sources, including the elimination of positions announced on
December 11, and the reduction of overlapping technology, vendor and marketing
expenses. In addition, the company is expected to benefit by leveraging its
broad product set to deepen relationships with existing Merrill Lynch
customers.
    
    Forward-Looking Statements
    
    Bank of America may make forward-looking statements, including statements
about the financial conditions, results of operations and earnings outlook of
Bank of America Corporation. The forward-looking statements involve certain
risks and uncertainties. Factors that may cause actual results or earnings to
differ materially from such  forward - looking  statements include, among
others, the following: 1) projected business increases following process
changes and other investments are lower than expected; 2) competitive pressure
among financial services companies increases significantly; 3) general
economic conditions are less favorable than expected; 4) political conditions
including the threat of future terrorist activity and related actions by the
United States abroad may adversely affect the company's businesses and
economic conditions as a whole; 5) changes in the interest rate environment
and market liquidity reduce interest margins, impact funding sources and
effect the ability to originate and distribute financial products in the
primary and secondary markets; 6) changes in foreign exchange rates increases
exposure; 7) changes in market rates and prices may adversely impact the value
of financial products; 8) legislation or regulatory environments, requirements
or changes adversely affect the businesses in which the requirements or
changes adversely affect the businesses in which the company is engaged; 9)
changes in accounting standards, rules or interpretations, 10) litigation
liabilities, including costs, expenses, settlements and judgments, may
adversely affect the company or its businesses; 11) mergers and acquisitions
and their integration into the company; and 12) decisions to downsize, sell or
close units or otherwise change the business mix of any of the company.
Accordingly, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-
looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made.
Bank of America does not undertake to update forward-looking statements to
reflect the impact of circumstances or events that arise after the date the
forward-looking statements are made. For further information regarding Bank of
America Corporation, please read the Bank of America reports filed with the
SEC and available at  http://www.sec.gov.
    
    Bank of America
    
    Bank of America is one of the world's largest financial institutions,
serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses and large
corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and
other financial and risk-management products and services. The company
provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving more than 59
million consumer and small business relationships with more than 6,100 retail
banking offices, more than 18,000 ATMs and award-winning online banking with
more than 25 million active users. Bank of America offers industry leading
support to more than 4 million small business owners through a suite of
innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves
clients in more than 150 countries and has relationships with 99 percent of
the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune Global 500. Bank
of America Corporation stock (NYSE:   BAC) is a component of the Dow Jones
Industrial Average and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.


    
                        www.bankofamerica.com

    




For further information:

For further information: Investors: Kevin Stitt, +1-704-386-5667, or Lee
McEntire, +1-704-388-6780; or Reporters: Scott Silvestri, +1-980-388-9921,
scott.silvestri@bankofamerica.com, all of Bank of America Web Site:
http://www.bankofamerica.com

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