I can't tell you many times my inexperienced eyes have seen the WORST ANALYSIS & RESEARCH EVER by Merrill. I can only imagine what some of the more experience here think. Wasn't Henry Blodget at Merrill back before the Naz got cut down to 1,100 from 5,500, pumping the Focus 20 Internet Fund? This headline made me spit diet coke through my nose. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ao8mL_G10a78&refer=home Merrill Restricts Research Access to Guard Intellectual Capital By Christine Harper March 22 (Bloomberg) -- Merrill Lynch & Co., the third- biggest U.S. securities firm by market value, is restricting access to its research reports after some stock picks appeared on outside Web sites within seconds of their release. Merrill needs ``to regain control of our distribution channels in order to preserve and protect our hard-earned intellectual capital,'' Candace Browning, New York-based Merrill's global head of research, wrote in a memo to clients today. Like the music industry's battle with file-sharing services, research is ``in the throes of being Napsterized.'' Wall Street firms have revamped their research departments since 2003, when 10 brokerages, including Merrill, paid $1.4 billion to settle charges that they wrote biased reports to lure investment-banking clients. Securities firms reduced the number of analysts and focused more on serving hedge funds, which pay higher trading commissions. Now Merrill and its rivals in the securities industry are battling subscription Web sites such as Summit, New Jersey-based TheFlyOnTheWall.com, which publish information from the firms' reports. TheFlyOnTheWall.com's Web site, which says its service ``is like having a seat at Wall Street's best houses and learning what they know when they know it,'' says a full subscription costs $50 a month, or a reduced annual rate of $480 per year. Merrill, Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., three of the world's four largest securities firms, sued TheFlyOnTheWall.com for copyright infringement in U.S. District Court in New York last year. Limiting Access In today's memo, Browning describes how a New Jersey-based digital news service, which she doesn't name, recently ``replicated with plagiaristic precision'' a Merrill recommendation within 60 seconds of its release to clients on the firm's private networks. ``The ease and speed with which the fruits of our efforts can be posted on the Web for the world to review has pointed yet another arrow at the chests of sell-side research organizations,'' Browning wrote. Starting this month, Merrill will take steps to limit the dissemination of the research on its Web site to clients, Browning said in the memo. Media outlets will be given restricted and delayed access to the firm's research. Merrill also plans to change its policy for licensing its research to ensure that it charges prices that are competitive with other providers, the memo said. Browning, who titled her memo ``Obituaries For Sell-Side Research Are Premature,'' wrote that the business of brokerage firms selling research to clients is ``not only surviving but thriving.'' Susan McCabe, a spokeswoman at Merrill in New York, declined to comment. A telephone message left at TheFlyOnTheWall.com's office wasn't immediately returned. Merrill Lynch is a passive, minority investor in Bloomberg LP, parent of Bloomberg News. TheFlyOnTheWall.com is available to Bloomberg clients as a subscription service.