Merrill Lynch charges into private equity


When John Thain took over at Merrill Lynch, the pundits wondered to what extent he would Goldman-ize the firm. Here's one area where Merrill Lynch seems to really want to emulate Thain's old firm (in his pre-NYSE days): private equity. reports that Merrill Lynch is raising a $6 billion global opportunity private-equity fund, in which it will invest up to $2 billion. It has also sought to raise an infrastructure fund and real estate funds. Goldman Sachs has been a model of how an investment bank can profitably operate a private equity fund without upsetting clients. Other companies haven't quite managed the trick, but Merrill is not shying away from the challenge. The industry is in a lull, and some may question the timing. Still, a lot of people will tell you that's the best time to enter a market.  

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