FleetBoston Financial Corp. has joined Merrill Lynch & Co. and Credit Suisse First Boston as investors in CapitalKey Advisors Inc., a new online investment bank that is aiming to scoop up small merger-and-acquisition deals that bigger firms turn away.

As part of the transaction, which could be announced as soon as today, FleetBoston will offer CapitalKey's services to smaller clients that they might otherwise overlook. In May, Merrill and Credit Suisse announced similar arrangements with the New York-based start-up. Merrill and Credit Suisse each invested $5 million and FleetBoston's outlay was of a similar amount, according to CapitalKey.

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