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TIMELINE: History of Merrill Lynch

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The following is a brief history of Merrill Lynch & Co, which agreed to be acquired by Bank of America Corp in a $50 billion transaction. This history is taken from Merrill’s website, published reports, and publicly available information.

1907: Charles Merrill arrives in New York to work for a textile company. He meets Edmund Lynch, who is looking for someone to share his boarding-house room at the 23rd Street YMCA. Both men were born in 1885.

1914: Charles E Merrill & Co opens its doors in January. Lynch joins him, and in May they open an office at 7 Wall Street in downtown Manhattan.

1915: The firm changes its name to Merrill, Lynch & Co. An associate notices a difference between the partners: “Merrill could imagine the possibilities; Lynch imagined what might go wrong in a malevolent world.”

1938: Edmund Lynch dies. Merrill Lynch drops the comma from its name.

1956: Merrill helps take Ford Motor Co public, giving the firm its first billion-dollar year in underwriting. The same year, Charles Merrill dies.

1958: Firm changes its name to Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith.

1960: Merrill opens its first London office. Four years later, it opens its first Tokyo office.

1964: Merrill buys C.J. Devine, becoming a dealer in fixed-income securities.

1971: Merrill goes public and lists on the New York Stock Exchange.

1976: Merrill creates Merrill Lynch Asset Management.

1999: Merrill is world’s largest underwriter of stocks and bonds for the last time, a title it cedes the next year to Citigroup Inc.

2001: Most of Merrill’s 9,000 Wall Street employees evacuate their offices opposite the World Trade Center during the 9/11 attacks. Three die.

Dec 2002: Merrill reaches $100 million settlement with New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer over alleged conflicts of interest by research analysts. The same month, it names Stanley O’Neal chief executive. He becomes chairman in April 2003.

2006: Merrill adds billions of dollars of mortgages to its balance sheet. It acquires First Franklin Financial Corp, a subprime mortgage lender owned by National City Corp.

Oct 2007: Merrill ousts Stanley O’Neal as chairman and chief executive as mortgage losses begin to mount, and after O’Neal approaches Wachovia Corp about a merger without telling the board. John Thain, chief executive of NYSE Euronext, is named his replacement as of Dec 1.

2008: Losses top $19.2 billion in the year ended June 30, as credit losses $40 billion. Merrill scrambles to raise capital from sovereign wealth funds and other investors, and sell risky assets.

Sept 15, 2008: Merrill agrees to be acquired by Bank of America for $29 per share.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Quentin Bryar

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