Wells Fargo to Buy Merlin Securities

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Wells Fargo & Co (WFC) is buying a prime brokerage firm in its first foray into the business of providing trading, reporting and other services for hedge funds.

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The acquisition of Merlin Securities LLC gives the No. 4 U.S. bank a platform for growing in the prime brokerage business and for selling other products and services to hedge funds, said Chris Bartlett, Wells Fargo's head of equity sales and trading.

"It's a way for us to wade into the business and grow over time," Bartlett said in an interview.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo did not disclose terms of the acquisition. Merlin, which is based in New York and San Francisco, serves more than 500 hedge funds,