World Reels After Bear Stearns Is Sold For Pocket Change

Bear
Jamie Dimon Photo: Photo composite: Getty Images

"This is like waking up in summer with snow on the ground,” Ron Geffner, a former SEC lawyer, told the Times of the news that last night JPMorgan, aided by the Federal Reserve Bank, bought Bear Stearns at a shocking 93 percent discount on Bear's Friday closing price: $2 a share, or $236 million. Including the Madison Avenue headquarters, a property valued at least $1.2 billion. It was a nice present for JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, who celebrated his 52nd birthday on Thursday, but not so much for the world economy: Although the last-minute buyout was supposed to stem the credit crisis and, as the Fed said yesterday, "bolster market liquidity and promote orderly market functioning," it seems to have done precisely the opposite. Markets in Europe and Asia tanked overnight, the dollar plunged, and trading on Wall Street is hobbled by fears of a domino effect. Today's economic conditions are "the most wrenching since the end of the second
World War," Alan Greenspan told CNN. Fortunately, it's Saint Patrick's Day, so even though there's no green circulating in the market, there is green beer. Drink up, folks. It's going to be a long, depressing ride.

JP Morgan Pays $2 a Share For Bear Stearns [NYT]
A Deal For Bear Stearns [WSJ]
Press Release [Federal Reserve]