In a press conference held on Monday, Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis and Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain said the buyout of Merrill Lynch provides a good opportunity for shareholders and that the overall reaction has been positive.

Speaking before the media, Lewis said, "we are very pleased with this", and added that, "we are focused on the best transition ever."

"Acquiring one of the premier wealth management, capital markets, and advisory companies is a great opportunity for our shareholders," Lewis said. "Together, our companies are more valuable because of the synergies in our businesses."

Merrill's Thain echoed the positive sentiment about the buyout.

"Merrill Lynch is a great global franchise and I look forward to working with Ken Lewis and our senior management teams to create what will be the leading financial institution in the world with the combination of these two firms," said Thain.

Lewis confirmed that Merrill Lynch would keep its name and that its brokerage operation would remain intact.

Lewis added that Bank of America did not ask the Federal Reserve for any capital relief. Lewis expects that the financial services industry will be in for a tough time for this year and the next as the industry consolidates.

Bank of America's shares have fallen by $4.98 today and are currently trading at $28.80 a share.

By Steve Stecyk and edited by Stephen Huebl
©CEP News Ltd. 2008