SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Grupo Santander Central Hispano agreed to buy Merrill Lynch & Co.'s retail brokerage business based here, the two companies said Tuesday. Terms were not disclosed.The acquisition, which is expected to close in February, includes more than $2 billion of assets under management in 10,000 customer accounts. The deal would make Santander's securities unit the second-largest broker dealer in Puerto Rico, with approximately $3.7 billion of assets under management in more than 17,500 customer accounts, the company said.
The transaction would also mark Merrill Lynch's exit from the retail business in Puerto Rico. Merrill said it will, however, retain its institutional operations there.