CHICAGO - Bear, Stearns & Co. will be the lead manager for $120 million of general obligation bonds that Ohio plans to sell in December, state Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow announced on Wednesday.

McDonald & Company Securities Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co. were chosen as co-senior managers.

Carol Rowan, a spokeswoman for the treasurer, said the bond issue will include an as yet undetermined amount of zero coupon college saver bonds.

Rowan said the state will have $720 million of GO bonding authorization remaining after this issue, its fourth since voters approved $1.2 billion of bonding authorization in 1987.

The state's first college saver bonds were sold last year as part of its third issue of local government public infrastructure capital improvements bonds. That issue was headed by Dean Witter Reynolds Inc.

Withrow's office said it chose Bear Stearns for the upcoming issue from 31 responses to the treasurer's request for proposal.

Co-managers for the deal are: Advest Inc.; Banc One Capital Corp.; Dean Witter; PaineWebber Inc.; Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co.; and W.R. Lazard, Laidlaw & Mead Inc.

The selling group will consist of Brooks Securities Inc.; Butler, Wick & Co.; Edward D. Jones & Co.; Grigsby Brandford & Co.; Kemper Securities Group Inc.; Huntington National Bank; Lancaster Pollard & Co.; Lehman Brothers; Miller & Schroeder Financial Inc.; the Ohio Co.; Pryor, McClendon & Counts Inc.; Raymond James & Associates Inc.; and Seasongood & Mayer.

Bond counsel for the deal is Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff and the financial adviser is Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corp.

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