Kirby Mcinerney & Squire LLP Announces Lawsuit Against Merrill Lynch -- MER

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

NEW YORK, July 16, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- Please take notice that the law firm of Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP has commenced a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf all persons who purchased the common stock of Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MER), in the period between July 3, 1999 and April 8, 2002 (the "class period").

A copy of the complaint is available from the Court or from Kirby McInerney & Squire (see Kirby McInerney & Squire's website at ). Please contact us by phone at (888) 529-4787 or by email at

The action charges Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. and its subsidiary, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Inc. (collectively, "Merrill Lynch"), David H. Komansky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Merrill Lynch during the class period, and Henry Blodget, Merrill Lynch's former Senior Internet and e-commerce analyst, with violations of Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder. The action further charges Komansky with violation of Section 20(a) of the 1934 Act. The violations stem from the materially false and misleading statements made by the defendants during the class period that misrepresented the quality of Merrill Lynch's securities analysts and caused Merrill Lynch's stock to trade at artificially inflated prices.

The complaint alleges that during the class period, Merrill Lynch publicly touted the objectivity and integrity of its securities analysts. In fact, the complaint alleges, many of the analysts' recommendations were simply part of a quid pro quo offered by Merrill Lynch in an effort to obtain lucrative investment banking business from the companies it covered. As a result, the complaint alleges, Merrill Lynch's shares traded at inflated prices. When evidence of conflicts and other misconduct by Merrill Lynch's analysts were revealed by New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer on April 8, 2002, Merrill Lynch's shares lost nearly 30% of their value, falling from $53.45 per share on April 8 to close below $38.00 a few weeks later. The action seeks to recover losses suffered by investors who purchased Merrill Lynch stock during the class period.

Plaintiffs are represented by Kirby McInerney & Squire, LLP, which specializes in complex litigation, including securities actions. The firm has repeatedly demonstrated its expertise in this field, and has been recognized by various courts which have appointed the firm to major positions in consolidated and multi-district litigation. The firm's efforts on behalf of shareholders in securities litigation have resulted in recoveries totaling hundreds of millions of dollars, and its achievements and quality of service have been chronicled in numerous published decisions. More information about the firm, class actions in general or about the role of the lead plaintiff in a securities action can be obtained through Kirby McInerney & Squire's website at

If you are a member of the class described above, you may, no later than September 3, 2002, move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff of the class, if you so choose, pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "PSLRA"), 15 U.S.C. section 78u-4(a). A lead plaintiff is a representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together serve as "lead plaintiff." Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to seek appointment as a lead plaintiff. For more information about the case, its claims, and your rights, please contact:

    Ira M. Press, Esq.
    Orie Braun
    830 Third Avenue, 10th Floor
    New York, New York 10022
    Telephone:  (212) 317-2300
    or Toll Free (888) 529-4787

More information on this and other class actions can be found on the Class Action Newsline at