Friday, March 14, 2008

Dramatic, but sort of obvious

Bear Stearns headed down the exit ramp today. There are some excellent businesses there, especially on the operating and clearing side, but the fixed income securities business in this traumatized environment has been its undoing. The "writing on the wall" came a little more than two months ago when Alan Schwartz, a relationship guy for heaven's sake, was named CEO of this firm based on fixed income trading, asset management clearing, and mortgage securities.

Time is running out and the Fed and JPM have stepped in. JPM, interestingly, seems to have no real skin in the game except for operational and executive management time, and may in the end pick off some valuable assets. Stay tuned.

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