Merrill to buy back $7B in bonds

August 22, 2008 1:24:41 PM PDT
Federal regulators say Merrill Lynch & Co. will buy back up to $7 billion in auction-rate securities over its role in selling the risky bonds to retail investors.

Merrill's preliminary agreement with the Securities and Exchange Commission comes a day after the largest U.S. brokerage agreed with state regulators to hasten its voluntary buyback plan by repurchasing $10 billion to $12 billion of the securities from investors by Jan. 2. Merrill also agreed to pay a $125 million fine in that deal.

The SEC said the new agreement will enable retail investors, small businesses and charities who purchased the securities from Merrill "to restore their losses and liquidity."


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