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Wells Fargo to Buy Merlin Securities Prime Brokerage

Wells Fargo & Co., the most valuable U.S. bank, agreed to buy Merlin Securities LLC, a prime brokerage that serves hedge funds and other clients with as much as $2 billion in assets.

The purchase is Wells Fargo’s first foray into prime brokerage services and the bank will use the business as a foundation to expand, said Christopher Bartlett, head of equity sales and trading at the San Francisco-based lender. Prime brokerage includes services such as lending, clearing trades and record-keeping that help hedge-fund managers run their firms. Bartlett, who spoke in an interview, and a company statement issued today didn’t disclose terms.