updated 10/17/2006 8:35:06 AM ET 2006-10-17T12:35:06

Merrill Lynch & Co., the nation’s largest brokerage, on Tuesday reported third-quarter profit more than doubled on a huge one-time gain resulting its deal with money manager BlackRock Inc.

Quarterly profit attributable to common shareholders was $3 billion, or $3.17 per share, for the July-September period compared to $1.36 billion, or $1.40 per share last year. The results included a $1.1 billion, or $1.17 per share, gain from the combination of Merrill’s investment management unit with BlackRock.

Excluding the BlackRock deal, Merrill Lynch would have reported a profit of $1.9 billion, or $2 per share. This still tops Wall Street projections for earnings of $1.47 per share, according to analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

“This was a very good quarter,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Stan O’Neal in a statement. “The BlackRock transaction also resulted in a substantial financial gain for Merrill Lynch and will enable us to more efficiently deploy our capital as we continue to build out our capabilities and pursue growth.”

Merrill Lynch said revenue from its global markets and investment banking division helped lift net revenue to $9.9 billion from $6.68 billion a year ago. Wall Street expected revenue of $7.3 billion during the quarter.

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