Friday, June 22, 2007

Bear Stearns Update: The Love of a Mother

by Tanta on 6/22/2007 07:09:00 AM

From the indefatigable Bloomberg, "Bear Stearns Plans $3.2 Billion Fund Rescue to Halt Fire Sale":

June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Bear Stearns Cos. plans to take on $3.2 billion of loans to stop creditors from seizing assets of one of its money-losing hedge funds in the biggest fund bailout since 1998, people with knowledge of the proposal said.

The firm told lenders to the High-Grade Structured Credit Strategies Fund yesterday that it would assume their loans, said the people, who declined to be named because the plan is confidential. The New York-based firm stepped in after Merrill Lynch & Co. took securities that backed $850 million in credit lines to two Bear Stearns funds and put them up for sale. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. also indicated they may take over collateral for loans they provided.

``Bear needs to put this behind it as soon as possible,'' said Peter Goldman, who helps manage $600 million at Chicago Asset Management, including shares of Bear Stearns. ``The firm might take on some of the risk of the fund they didn't have before, but they're a bond shop and they wouldn't take on risk they shouldn't.''

How true. Who ever heard of a bond shop taking on risk they shouldn't? What a Kidder!

This calls for a reprise of yesterday's celebration of mixed and mangled metaphors. I say we go back to an earlier classic moment in the history of bond shops that wouldn't take on risk they shouldn't:
"We never would have touched Kidder Peabody with a 10-foot pole if we knew there was a skunk in the place," Welch said to Kidder employees in a speech in early 1988, as reported in Fortune magazine, shortly after the scandal broke. "Unfortunately we did, and now we've got to live with it. But we're as committed to winning as we were on day one. We'd love you to win -- more than any mother in the world."