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Merrill Lynch to pay NJ $45M to settle stock suit

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey officials say Merrill Lynch will pay the state $45 million to settle a lawsuit over a stock purchase.

State Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa announced the settlement in a statement issued late Friday afternoon. He said the company did not admit to any wrongdoing or liability as part of the agreement.

The state filed the suit in July 2009. It accused Merrill Lynch of breach of contract stemming from a complicated July 2008 stock purchase that involved the Division of Investments, which oversees the state’s public employee pension system.

The stock purchase cited in the suit involved the state exchanging its investment in Merrill Lynch preferred stock for Merrill Lynch common stock.