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Multex.com Will Develop, Host $1 Billion Merrill Lynch Venture

[London, ENGLAND] Online financial information service Multex.com announced Wednesday it has signed a multi-million dollar agreement to develop and host a $1 billion strategic venture for Merrill Lynch HSBC, aimed at online "self directed" investors.

The new, global service will reach clients in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, and France, and provide access to information from both Merrill Lynch and HSBC.

Two types of Web sites are being planned for the new venture.

There will be "prospect sites" for prospective clients of Merrill Lynch HSBC, providing access to research and market data on a limited trial basis. In addition, "client sites" will be integrated with Merrill Lynch HSBC's client offering and provide a full service.

Brooks Gibbins, managing director of Multex.com Europe, said that his company's technology and financial information distribution capabilities were the cornerstone of the partnership.

"Multex.com will help Merrill Lynch HSBC to provide a global Internet service to the fast evolving self-directed investor market. This is a multi-tiered and evolutionary deal which represents a substantial and strategic partnership for Multex.com," said Gibbins.

Jon Kessler, Merrill Lynch HSBC European business development director, said that the provision of research to self-directed investors is a key component of his company's global offering -- and Multex.com will deliver it with the immediacy and convenience of the Internet.

Operating globally, Multex.com provides the tools used by investors who need information to support their decisions. It provides real-time, Web-based financial applications to institutional investors -- with MultexNET reaching over 750 firms such as Merrill Lynch, Salomon Smith Barney and RS Investment Management -- as well as to individual investors via a network of branded and affiliate sites.

Over two million members have registered for Multex Investor, while Sage Online and Market Guide have 1.6 million unique users. Among Multex.com's information and distribution partners are: Reuters, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, AOL, Yahoo!, Quicken.com, CBS MarketWatch and CNNfn.com.