Writedowns force Merrill Lynch into fundraising effort

The cash search continues for Merrill Lynch. The Wall Street firm said it plans to raise $8.5 billion by selling shares, with about $3.4 billion going to the Singaporean sovereign-wealth fund Temasek. Temasek bought $5 billion in Merrill shares in December. Merrill also agreed to sell a package of collateralised-debt obligations to private-equity firm Lone Star Funds for $6.7 billion. The CDOs had a stated worth of $30.6 billion but were on Merrill's books at $11.1 billion. The bank will take a $4.4 billion writedown this quarter. Shares of Merrill closed down more than $3 at $24.33.

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