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State Officials Cross Fingers That Merrill Will Writedown Another Few Billion

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Terrified that Merrill Lynch is serious about plans to build a $4 billion, 3 million square foot building across the street from Penn Station and abandon Eliot Spitzer et al.’s attempt to re-establish ground zero as a financial center, state officials are said to be “holding out hope” that the company’s current and future “financial situation will prompt it to reconsider leaving Lower Manhattan.” Though it will not be easy to beat Chief Executive Stanley’ O’Neal’s lifelong dream of working within walking distance of an Auntie Anne’s—regardless of the cost—, not to mention that of many a MER employee, which is easy access to the LIRR, the fourth quarter $4 billion writedown that CIBC analyst Meredith Whitney is predicting for the firm may do the trick. It’ll probably also encourage the board to take a second to ponder how great a job Mr. O’Neal is actually doing, and maybe even do a little recon on the names (via FaceBook, naturally) that have been proposed to take over (Co-presidents Greg Fleming and Ahmass Fakahany, GWM president Robert McCann, BlackRock founder Larry Fink, erstwhile BSC president and co-COO Warren Spector, and John Thain). They’ll probably just ruminate on that for literally just second though, and ultimately fire some lower-ranking-than-O’Neal official instead. But who?
Rumors Flying On New CEO [NYP]
Merrill Lynch May Write Down $4 Billion More, CIBC Analyst Says [Bloomberg]
Merrill Lynch Expected to Quit Downtown for Midtown [NYT]