US – US asset manager BlackRock says it will announce the new business model for its merger with Merrill Lynch Investment Mangers this week.

“We have started to announce organizational decisions for the 'new' BlackRock, including the executive committee for the firm and the managerial structure of the US Private Client Group,” said chairman and chief executive Laurence Fink in a statement. BlackRock announced it would absorb MLIM in February.

“We expect to announce the business model by the end of this week, roll out the prospective investment teams by early May, and complete the talent review process in June.”

The comments came as the New York-based firm said first-quarter earnings rose 51% to $70.9m. Revenue was up 58% at $395.7m.

BlackRock said assets under management rose to $463.1bn at the end of the quarter, from $452.7bn at the end of December 2005.

Its AUM rose by $10.4bn in the first quarter and by $71.7bn year-over-year to $463.1 billion. Net new business in the first quarter was $7.7bn.

The merger with Merrill's fund management unit will put BlackRock's assets at just over $1trn – up from the $992bn figure that had been expected.

"Investment performance and new business momentum remained strong throughout the quarter," Fink said. He added the MLIM deal is set to close at the end of the third quarter.