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Executive Still Gets Name Recognition at Merrill Lynch

December 28, 1986|RUTH RYON | Times Staff Writer

Rick Merrill was elated last week when Merrill Lynch & Co. announced that it would not change the name of its residential realty arm after it is turned into a master limited partnership.

"Now I can still enjoy being a Merrill and working for Merrill Lynch Realty," he said.

The 33-year-old California native, who has been in the real estate business for 11 years and most recently served Merrill Lynch Realty as president of its Western Pennsylvania division, is the new president of Merrill Lynch Realty, Beverly Hills, and oversees 700 realty agents and 15 sales offices on the Westside.

Nationwide, Merrill Lynch Realty has about 450 offices and 15,000 sales associates.

"Charlie Merrill was my grandfather's name, and that was the same name as the founder of Merrill Lynch," Merrill noted. "The only difference is that my grandfather worked for General Motors." "Actually, retention of the name is perceived as very positive by our associates, because they will be able to own part of the company for which they work. Besides, any time there is a contemplated name change, there is an uncertain future."

For the past few months, the future of Merrill Lynch Realty Associates was uncertain. Its parent company put the residential real estate subsidiary--estimated to be worth $500 million--on the market last September.

Last Monday, the New York-based investment house announced that it will convert Merrill Lynch Realty (including its residential mortgage, relocation and realty associates subsidiaries) into a master limited partnership.

"Merrill Lynch will retain 50% to 75% of the company and sell the remaining shares to the public," Merrill explained.

The move is expected to ease Merrill Lynch & Co.'s tax burden while allowing it to raise capital for its core securities businesses.

Merrill Lynch & Co. sold its commercial real estate division for an undisclosed price a couple of weeks ago to Hooker Corp. Ltd. of Australia. The commercial division has 14 offices and about 250 sales agents.

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