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EU clears Bank of America’s buy of Merrill Lynch

European Union competition authorities cleared on Friday Bank of America Corp’s purchase of investment bank Merrill Lynch, the bloc’s executive arm said in an update of merger decisions.  

Bank of America announced in mid-September that it would buy Merrill for $44 billion as investors fled from financial services firms and Lehman Brothers faced bankruptcy.

The European Commission’s approval was seen as a formality as it had been carried out under a simplified procedure applied to deals that arouse no suspicion of harming competition. The US Federal Reserve cleared the deal last month.

Bank of America, the largest US depository bank, has total consolidated assets of $1.8 trillion, roughly 11% of the nation’s total. (Reuters)