NU Online News Service, Dec. 30, 4:11 p.m. – Merrill Lynch & Company Inc., New York, says it will be combining its Mercury family of mutual funds with its Merrill Lynch funds and selling all of the funds through life insurance companies and other outside distributors under the Merrill Lynch brand name.

The company’s Merrill Lynch Investment Managers unit has been selling a selection of Merrill Lynch funds through outside distributors under the Mercury name.

Combining the funds will give clients of the outside distributors access to funds that, in many cases, have lower expense ratios and longer track records than the Mercury funds, Merrill Lynch says.