Histone methyltransferase MLL4 is centrally involved in transcriptional regulation and is often mutated in human diseases, including cancer and developmental disorders. MLL4 contains a catalytic SET domain that mono-methylates histone H3K4 and seven PHD fingers of unclear function. Here, we identify the PHD6 finger of MLL4 (MLL4-PHD6) as a selective reader of the epigenetic modification H4K16ac. The solution NMR structure of MLL4-PHD6 in complex with a H4K16ac peptide along with binding and mutational analyses reveal unique mechanistic features underlying recognition of H4K16ac. Genomic studies show that one third of MLL4 chromatin binding sites overlap with H4K16ac-enriched regions in vivo and that MLL4 occupancy in a set of genomic targets depends on the acetyltransferase activity of MOF, a H4K16ac-specific acetyltransferase. The recognition of H4K16ac is conserved in the PHD7 finger of paralogous MLL3. Together, our findings reveal a previously uncharacterized acetyllysine reader and suggest that selective targeting of H4K16ac by MLL4 provides a direct functional link between MLL4, MOF and H4K16 acetylation.