Report: BofA Might Put Columbia on the Block

Five years after acquiring Columbia Management Group, Bank of America (BofA) might offload the business, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The news report said the Charlotte, North Carolina-based BofA also wants to sell First Republic Bank, a private financial institution it inherited as part of BofA’s acquisition of Merrill Lynch & Co. last year (see “Merrill Lynch Stockholders Approve BoA Deal).

As part of its 2004 acquisition of FleetBoston Financial Corp., BofA acquired Columbia, which had $386.4 billion in assets under management as of December 31, 2008. BofA could look to shed the investment management firm in an effort to get rid of non-core assets and better hold onto capital reserves

The Journal said some BofA executives feel Columbia is redundant when compared with BlackRock Inc., a New York money manager that was partly owned by Merrill. BofA has no plans to sell its share of BlackRock, according to the newspaper.