NU Online News Service, Nov. 6, 2:35 p.m. – EBenX Inc., Minneapolis, has completed a previously announced acquisition of the assets of Howard Johnson & Company, New York, a benefits consulting firm, from Merrill Lynch & Company Inc., New York, for $11.3 million in cash and the assumption of $700,000 in liabilities.

The unit should generate about $14 million in revenue and $2 million in profits a year, eBenX says.

The deal also includes a strategic marketing agreement. The agreement calls for Merrill Lynch to refer clients that need benefits services to eBenX, eBenX says.

Howard Johnson was established in 1965. Merrill Lynch acquired it in September 1998 without revealing the terms of the deal.

The firm was reported to be generating about $35 million a year in benefits consulting revenue when Merrill Lynch acquired it.