A rumor that Legg Mason may be buying a huge slice of Merrill Lynch assets is just that - a rumor - several Wall Street analysts believe, The Baltimore Sun reports.

Normally, Legg Mason makes bite-size transactions that do not generate much hype. But this move, which would involve the $286.4 billion in assets Legg Mason taking over a large amount of the $513 billion in assets Merrill, would be different.

"I'd be highly surprised if they were looking to take down the entire assets under management of Merrill Lynch," said Jeffrey Harte, an analyst from Sandler O'Neill & Partners, pointing out that Merrill is almost twice Legg Mason's size.

The estimate by analysts is that Merrill's assets would run more than $6 billion, The Sun reported.

The rumor about Mason's possible move was first reported in Thursday's New York Times, although neither company's officials would comment on the piece.

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The staff of Money Management Executive ("MME") has prepared these capsule summaries based on reports published by the news sources to which they are attributed. Those news sources are not associated with MME, and have not prepared, sponsored, endorsed, or approved these summaries.

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