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Awards for excellence - Merrill Lynch

The world’s best equity-linked house

Merrill Lynch dominates the convertible bonds business. It's not the largest player in Europe, although is certainly top three, but in the US it boasts a market share in the region of 25% so far this year. And it is in the US where converts have had a stellar 12 months.

What's more, Merrill has been behind structuring and propagating the largest and most innovative deals of the past 12 months. And it has not been tainted with the claims of buying or being unable to distribute deals that have dogged some of its competitors. In an exceptionally benign environment for converts issuance, that is no mean feat.

One day perhaps defines Merrill's capabilities best: November 14 2000. On that day Merrill priced the largest convert ever issued - $3.45 billion for Tyco - as well as two others, a $1.5 billion deal for Solectron and a $125 million offering for Province Healthcare.

Combined that made over $5 billion in funds raised, which was more than 8% of the entire amount raised in the convertibles market in the US last year.

The Tyco deal also introduced a new structure to the US market - the zero-coupon contingent conversion.

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