Monday, March 17, 2008

I can't bear it any more

I've been especially dissatisfied with the reporting of the Bear Stearns situation in the press:

1. I'm tired of BS referred to as a "venerable" or "storied" firm of Wall Street. Before any of this happened, BS was considered a second or third tier bank.
2. I'm sick of JPM portrayed as the rescuer or giving BS a "bailout", "harking" to a 100 year or whatever history of saving troubled firms. It's obvious to me that whatever actions taken by JPM are self-serving.
3. Nobody seems to know the terms of the deal except the $2 a share business that is often linked to annoying information like, "and only a few days ago the stock was trading at $65" or "in January 2007, a high of $171 a share". They also like to talk about how the building alone is worth over $1 billion so it seems like a "fire" sale. Maybe or maybe not? $2 a share is superficial information and it's being overblown in the stories -- great material for a comic but not enough for a meaty story. We still don't know how big were Bear's liabilities, what are the breakup fees, if any, are there executive golden parachutes, what will happen to the employees, how did JPM conduct due diligence, how/when did the Fed get involved, etc. etc.

What I really want to know are the full terms of the deal, how the parties arrived at them and the personal stories of Bear Stearns employees. All of this is lacking in the press. Believe me, I've tried -- I've read every possible article on the "fall" of the "venerable" "85 year old" Bear. They're all the same repetitive crap that reads like the Sweet Valley High series.

No comments: