By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: US financial company Merrill Lynch has announced to the Australian Securities Exchange that it purchased a 5.08 per cent stake in JB Hi-Fi in late December last year.

The move follows US-based Capital Group’s purchase of 5.16 per cent of the company between the end of September and late November 2007.

JB Hi-Fi’s share price doubled over 2007, going from as low as $6.30 to as high as $16.33 in October after the company issued a profit upgrade, which predicted net first-half profit would be 25-35 per cent higher than forecast.

The retail chain also forecast a 33 per cent increase in sales for the current financial year.

Despite news of the purchase, JB Hi-Fi shares closed down 53c at $13.15 yesterday.