NEW YORK: Investment bank Merrill Lynch has inked a deal that disposes of its 20% stake in media and data giant Bloomberg for around $4.5 billion (€2.8bn; £2.24bn).

The sale of the Bloomberg shares back to its parent - one of Wall Street's worst kept secrets - will boost the value beyond $20bn and will propel founder Michael Bloomberg even further up the rich lists.

The current Mayor of New York will be worth around $15bn, still trailing Bill Gates and Kirk Kerkorian, but with enough to ensure the credit crisis leave him unsqueezed.

Merrill Lynch, on the other hand, is feeling the economic pinch, and the sale was made to help offset $6bn of credit-related writedowns.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff