Exclusive: Wells, Merrill vie for Wal-Mart retirement plan mandate

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc is considering bids from retirement plan managers to run its $15.6 billion 401(k) program, which has been administered by Bank of America's Merrill Lynch unit for the past 15 years, according to three sources familiar with the situation.

The Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer is talking to Wells Fargo & Co's retirement division about managing the program, the largest U.S. private sector plan, said the sources, who wished to remain anonymous because they are not permitted to speak the media. Bank of America is also in the running, they said. It was unclear if other plan providers were also being considered.

Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Wal-Mart declined to comment.

(Reporting by Lauren Young and Jessica Toonkel in New York; Editing by Gary Hill; Follow us @ReutersMoney or at http://www.reuters.com/finance/personal-finance)