Merrill’s Board Turns on O’Neal

Who told the NYT’s Jenny Anderson about Stan O’Neal’s abortive attempt to float

a merger

with Wachovia? She sources her scoop to "people close to the beleaguered

Wall Street firm," which is not very helpful, but it seems clear that she

and her colleague Landon Thomas spoke to one or more Merrill directors.

Why would any Merrill Lynch director leak this story to the NYT? Especially

after all the shenanigans

at Hewlett-Packard, one would think that a director would think twice about

taking such a step. But maybe the board is so packed with O’Neal cronies that

going public like this is the only way for a director unhappy with the CEO to



That said, I’m not convinced that an informal approach to Wachovia is much

of a hanging offense, especially not compared to little things like, oh, losing

$8 billion on toxic structured products. If the latter isn’t going to result

in O’Neal’s ouster, I’m not sure that the former will.

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