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Merrill Lynch Chosen as 401(k) Plan Provider to Wal-Mart Associates

PRINCETON, N.J., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MER) today announced that its Group Employee Services division has signed a letter of intent to provide a range of 401(k) plan services for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT).

With the assistance of Merrill Lynch's expertise and substantial resources, Wal-Mart will provide its eligible associates with comprehensive information about the plan using a customized education and communication program.

"Wal-Mart continues to provide our associates with a very competitive and generous benefits program," said Charles Rateliff, senior vice president of Risk Management and Benefits Administration for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. "We are pleased to announce that we are taking our programs a step further by working with Merrill Lynch to offer a 401(k) plan for the first time. This new savings opportunity along with our Profit Sharing and Stock Purchase plans will give our associates even better financial security for their futures."

"We are excited about the opportunity to assist Wal-Mart associates -- who make up a significant proportion of America's workforce -- save for their retirement," said G. Stephen Thoma, Senior Vice President, Merrill Lynch Business Financial Services.

Wal-Mart operates in all 50 states, Argentina, Canada and Puerto Rico, and in Brazil, China, Indonesia and Mexico under joint venture agreements. Wal- Mart currently employs 670,000 associates in the United States and 30,000 internationally. Wal-Mart's securities are listed on the New York, Pacific and Toronto stock exchanges.

Merrill Lynch provides services to large, middle and small market company employee benefit plans with an aggregate of more than $85 billion in assets and more than 2 million individual participants. During 1996 alone, 401(k) plan assets under management grew 27% to $45 billion, ranking Merrill Lynch Group Employee Services as the fourth largest provider of retirement plans in the U.S.

Merrill Lynch is one of the world's leading diversified financial services companies, with more than 650 offices in 45 countries.

SOURCE Merrill Lynch
 -0- 02/03/97

/CONTACT: Susan Thomson, New York, 212-449-2004, or Wendell Wood Collins, Princeton, 609-282-3121, both of Merrill Lynch/


CO: Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc.; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ST: New Jersey IN: FIN REA SU:

EQ -- NYM012 -- 0886 02/03/97 10:45 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Feb 3, 1997
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