Like predecessor Hugh McColl, Bank of America CEO Kenneth Lewis loves enormous deals. His 7-year reign has seen flashy conquests adding up to more than $150 billion, but never has he bagged a bigger trophy than Merrill Lynch, Reuters reports. The deal should fulfill Lewis’ oft-frustrated ambition to make BofA, already the country’s top retail bank, its top brokerage as well.
Coupled with the takeover of Countrywide 11 weeks ago, the Merrill acquisition has made Lewis something of a Wall Street hero. “Ken Lewis … just got that much more powerful in the global financial structure,” said one analyst. But Lewis’ past forays into investment banking have proved ill-fated: Less than a year ago he declared he’d “had all of the fun I can stand in investment banking.”