Merrill Lynch & Co. solidified its claim as a top gun in the hot field of credit card consolidation, landing the advisory assignment in First USA's sale to Banc One Corp.

In the New York firm's biggest banking deal since it advised Bank of New York Co. in the sale of its AFL-CIO affinity card portfolio to Household International Inc. for $3.9 billion last summer, Merrill advised First USA Inc. in the $7 billion deal.

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