SCHAUMBURG, Ill. - Banking and finance continued as the most active sector for mergers and acquisitions in the second quarter, according to the business brokerage and valuation division of Merrill Lynch & Co.

While the number of mergers announced in the quarter rose 44% from the year-earlier level, to 716, mergers among banks and other financial companies jumped 75%, to 77. And the value of banking and finance deals rose 89%, to $4.8 billion.

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