Source AP ©

Merrill Lynch & Co. ends auction of Bear Stearns Cos' assets

Merrill Lynch & Co. completed its auction of assets seized from a troubled Bear Stearns Cos. hedge fund and covered its position.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the situation publicly, said the auction went as expected.

Merrill requested its collateral for loans it made to the Bear Stearns High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Enhanced Leverage Fund after the fund's underlying assets - mostly bonds backed by risky mortgage loans - starting losing value.

Media reports said Merrill would auction up to $850 million (634.5 million EUR) in investment-grade assets, but the value and quality of the assets could not be verified.

A Merrill Lynch spokesman would not comment on the auction.