Merrill Lynch to buy Midland Walwyn for $1.26 billion

The last major independent Canadian brokerage firm is being bought by an American company. Midland Walwyn Inc. is being taken over by Merrill Lynch and Co. for $1.26 billion.

Merrill Lynch is the world's biggest stock broker. Eight years ago it sold its Canadian branch to CIBC Wood Gundy.

Merrill Lynch says Canada is a key market, the seventh largest in the world for personal investment.

Midland Walwyn says the deal will help the company compete with the brokerage arms of the Royal Bank and the Bank of Montreal, which are slated to merge.

Executives from both companies will lead the new firm. The deal still needs regulatory and stockholder approval. They say there will be no job losses in Canada due to the merger, and they may hire new staff to handle extra business.