BNP Paribas said in a statement today it is buying the equity prime brokerage unit of Bank of America Corp. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition, described as a very good strategic fit, is expected to close in the second half of 2008. It will give Frances largest bank access to more than 500 U.S. BofA hedge fund clients. The two banks also own U.S. primary dealers. BoA spokeswoman Melissa Kitlowski said the divestiture does not mark BofAs exit from the hedge fund business, which the bank will continue to serve through investment ideas that will help them deliver returns, execution solutions and capital raising.