When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

29 May 2008

The last days of Bear Stearns

I’ve been a Wall Street Journal subscriber since college days, and was a charter subscriber at their web site, too.

With Rupert Murdoch’s ownership, I’m not sure WSJ is going in a direction that I want to follow. So I’ve recently subscribed (as an experiment) to the Financial Times, to assure myself of a steady stream of actionable news about business. Still too early to tell, but so far so good.

The links below are a reminder that the WSJ still does some things better than anybody else: it’s a three-part series, by Kate Kelly, that ran late this month on the final days of Bear Stearns as a business.
Excerpt from Day One:
Twelve hours after agreeing to sell Bear Stearns Cos. for $2 a share, Alan Schwartz wearily made his way to the company gym for a much-needed workout.

It was 6:45 a.m., March 17, and Bear Stearns's chief executive had slept little since hammering out the ugly details of his fire-sale deal with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.

When Mr. Schwartz, already dressed in his business suit, trudged into the locker room, Alan Mintz, still in his sweaty gym clothes, made a beeline for the boss.

"How could this happen to 14,000 employees?" demanded the 46-year-old senior trader, thrusting his face uncomfortably close to Mr. Schwartz's. "Look in my eyes, and tell me how this happened!"

Two and a half months later, Mr. Schwartz still isn't quite sure. To Mr. Mintz and others, he has blamed a market tsunami he didn't see coming. He told a Senate committee last month: "I just simply have not been able to come up with anything, even with the benefit of hindsight, that would have made a difference."

No comments: