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Merrill Lynch takes $14.1 billion writedown
January 17, 2008 / 12:13 PM / in 10 years

Merrill Lynch takes $14.1 billion writedown

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Merrill Lynch & Co Inc on Thursday said it took a $14.1 billion writedown and adjustments in the fourth quarter as bad subprime mortgage bets forced the brokerage to sell pieces of the company to foreign investors to raise capital.

<p>A graph showing Merrill Lynch's share performance for one year to the January 16,2008 close. REUTERS/Graphics</p>

Analysts expected Merrill’s write-down to land anywhere from $10 billion to $15 billion. For the year, Merrill’s subprime mortgage-related losses totaled nearly $23 billion.

Merrill reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $9.8 billion, or $12.01 a share, the largest in the company’s history. The world’s largest brokerage turned a profit of $2.3 billion, or $2.41 a share, in the year-ago period.

The results eclipse the $2.3 billion loss in the third quarter when Merrill recorded an $8.4 billion write-down.

In a statement, Chief Executive John Thain called the results “clearly unacceptable.” But in the past month, Merrill has fortified its balance sheet with nearly $13 billion in capital infusions from U.S. and Asian investors.

Reporting by Tim McLaughlin, editing by Mark Porter

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