No Longer Pretending Not To Know About The MER Nomination, Fink Needs A Fortnight To Decide How Big A Masochist He Is


BlackRock Chairman Larry Fink, Merrill Lynch’s #1 pick for CEO, is said to be taking the next two weeks to decide if he wants the job nobody else will have, including Stan O’Neal, who the board supposedly tried and failed to rehire over the weekend, according to sources familiar with the situation (Carney’s uppers). Fink’s strengths apparently include the ability to stay up late, his proven track record at a pretty successful asset manager, and his mortgage market expertise, which, though it has never been a prereq for the job before, the board was like “eh, could be a good idea to look for” when it created the listing for the position on Monster.com. According to CNBC, one minor issue issue is Fink’s stake in Blackrock, because Merrill sells BLK funds, and which would be a conflict of interest if such things existed. Given what is rumored to be a huge propensity for $5 billion to $10 billion writedowns, Enron accounting practices, and the WNBA, Fink is expected to accept the job, though is still holding on to the pipe dream that he’ll be offered the stop slot at Bear (which would explain why the seriously uncool move of leaking the weed story to the Journal last week).
Fink Considers Merrill Lynch CEO Position [CNBC]
BlackRock CEO not aware of Merrill CEO candidacy [Reuters]


No One Told Ken Lewis Shareholders Needed To Know About Merrill's Massive Losses, Okay?

Remember in 2008, when Ken Lewis was all, “Oooh, wait, I don’t know about this Merrill Lynch thing, it looks kinda bad, I don’t think I want to buy it anymore, I’m nervous [bites nails, shifts weight from one foot to the other like he has to pee]” and tried to back out of the deal? And Hank Paulson threatened to stuff him in a meat locker if he did so Lewis said okay, fine, I’ll buy it and then did, without mentioning anything to shareholders about Merrill's impending losses? Well 1) People are still upset about it but 2) Ken was under the impression shareholders were on a need to know basis. Top executives at Bank of America Corp did not tell shareholders just prior to a 2008 vote on its purchase of Merrill Lynch & Co that losses were mounting and expected to weigh down earnings for years, papers filed in private shareholder litigation show. But the bank and former Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis said in their own court papers that they should not be liable to shareholders who claimed to have lacked information they needed to vote on the once $50 billion merger. Lewis also said he had been advised by the bank's law firm and chief financial officer that no disclosure was necessary. No further questions. BofA masked Merrill loss before 2008 vote: filings [Reuters]