Apparently getting laid off by Bear Stearns in Dallas isn’t such a bad deal. First year analysts are said to be receiving three months severance plus a full bonus, according to a source familiar with the parting gifts.
Kate Kelly isn’t the only one giving us an early preview of (what’s got to be) her forthcoming book on Bear Stearns! For his latest Trader Monthly column, out today, CNBC’s Charlie Gasparino hops aboard the J-Cay train, for a little look-see at what we hope in our heart of heart’s will be titled When Mooks Fail.
One spoiler, in particular, is quite disappointing. While we’ll still certainly read the free galley, the reality that, barring a miracle wherein Cayne scrapes the funds together to start using again, WMF won’t contain a chapter detailing the dynamic duo’s weekly hot boxing sessions, is a very bitter pill to swallow. We imagine our sadness is on par with the BSC employees whose life savings’ went up in smoke ’cause someone was having too much fun at bridge camp to make it into work. Perhaps worse. Sayeth the destroyer of dreams:
The second installment of Kate Kelly’s 3-part series on the destruction of Bear Stearns answered many questions. Among them: which clients pulled out in the days prior to the intervention (notably, a little shop called RenTec), where did Jamie Dimon celebrate his 52nd birthday (Avra, a Greek restaurant on East 48th street) and does Alan “Ace” Greenberg perform magic tricks (yes).
But it also raised so many more! The most important one, noted by a commenter earlier this morning, being: “What of that Dunkin’ Donuts order? Did the bankers on the sixth floor who were heard considering ordering breakfast from the purveyor of the deep-fried pieces of dough ever pull the trigger? DID THEY?” The article does not say. But a little investigative journalism on the part of DB today found that the answer is yes. According to a source familiar with the matter, “They did [place the order]–coffee and donuts, which they were actually eating and drinking when the high-five worthy email [containing the draft of a news release announcing that the bank had agreed to provide Bear Stearns with financing "as necessary" for up to 28 days] appeared.”
Amid the turmoil, Alan “Ace” Greenberg, Bear Stearns’s 80-year-old former boss, attempted to break the tension in a lighter way. Wearing his trademark bow tie, Mr. Greenberg, who still trades, performed magic tricks to amuse colleagues.
What the Journal doesn’t tell us, is that Old Man Greenberg did this every day just prior to the close for the last thirty years, at which time, traders would give him spare change “just to go away,” which, little known fact, was part of his plan in the first place. Also, for years, colleagues would hire him as a clown for their children’s birthday parties out of pity. In the beginning Jimmy Cayne would come along as an assistant, but he scared the kids and was dropped from the act pretty early on, without flourish.
Fear, Rumors Touched Off Fatal Run on Bear Stearns [WSJ]
If this is the new Wall Street Journal, BRING.IT.ON. The Batman-looking cartoons plunked down in the middle of an A1 article are definitely something we will wholeheartedly get behind. Some suggestion to take things to the next level:
a. Drop the pretense. Lose the text and make it one long comic strip
b. You need a hero god damn it! It might seem like there aren’t any in this story but there must be a wronged mortgage trader who tried to alert the higher ups as to the shit that was going down, perhaps? Whatever. Use creative license. Make it revolve around that guy coming back from the dead and seeking vengeance.
c. To clearly delineate the bad guys, put a paunchy Jimmy Cayne in an ill-fitting Riddler Suit (we’d do it but we don’t have the budget (/can’t draw)).
d. End on a cliff hanger. Riddler Cayne should say something like “This is the last day of our acquaintance. I will meet you later in somebody’s office,” as inspired by Sinead O’Connor. Maniacal laughter before he jumps out the window, etc. Maybe have his dealer waiting with the engine running on Vanderbilt. Your call.
Lost Opportunities Haunt Final Days of Bear Stearns [WSJ]
Of Course Bear Stearns Is Being Sued For Telling JPM It Could Buy 383 Madison Without Getting Permission From The Land Owner First!By Bess Levin
Would you recognize the place if *hadn’t* breached its agreement to give 383 Madison LLC, the proprietor of the property, the right to make the first offer on the building, before entering into a contract that provided JPMorgan an irrevocable option to purchase the building, regardless of whether or not the deal to create Bearpont Morgan Chase goes through? I submit you would not.* Also, hilariously, JPM has been named a defendant in the suit. Will they be dragged into the mêlée brewing between BSC and Vermont Teddy Bear, the manufacturer of the surprisingly popular “BSC Bear”? Stay tuned!
Bear Stearns Is Sued Over Option To Sell Its Headquarters [CNN Money]
*I can say that because we sent free food to several of BSC’s finest this afternoon.
It seems like all we ever hear about is what a nice guy Jamie Dimon is, and how he’s a “giant among midgets” and his souvlaki is out of this world, but the direction he’s taking Bearpont Morgan Chase** is deeply disturbing and very much brings his judgment into question.
Not two weeks ago JPMorgan’s head of Latin American Credit, along with four MD’s and one ED were laid off for reasons related to “cost cutting and expenses.” Today we’re told that a JPM director paid a visit to 383 Madison this morning to fire all but two analysts from Bear’s Latam Research division, telling the peasants, “As you probably realize, we cannot take you on and as you may or may not be aware, JPMorgan decided to keep the headcount the same as before the merger. So now, you are free to look for other jobs.” Obviously we knew that there would be (severance-saddled) victims in this whole thing but the fact that Jamie Dimon can’t spare a few pesos to keep the group which inspired “Project Awesome” (the fictional Latam division of the fictional JS Spencer bank which spent most of its time chilling in Cabo with the odd Brazilian mention in Dana Vachon’s Mergers and Acquisitions) fully intact is a hard pill to swallow and quite nearly criminal. To Dimon’s credit, however, he apparently was instrumental in coming up with the line, “You are free to look for other jobs,” which was inspired. (Especially after he asked everyone to stay put for the last several months and requested that other banks hold off on hiring Bear employees until he could decide who would be getting fired.)
*It’s funnier than “vivan.”
**Not yet official, just in the hopper. Also under consideration: JPMorgan Cayne, the reasoning being that “this whole thing would never have happened without JC’s inspired management of Bear.”
GE Commercial Finance apparently cut 500 employees today. Our tipster, who was one of the victims, had just moved over from Bear a year ago thinking he could “ride out the downcycle.” Just think– had he gone the other way, he would’ve still (probably) been out of a job, but could’ve scored some sweet BSC swag, at a deep discount.
Theory: This Was Actually Intended Soley For Jimmy Cayne But They Had To Send It To Everyone So As Not To Embarass HimBy Bess Levin
The (very) internal Bear memo we just received is from December and yet, we feel the message bears repeating (at regular intervals, which perhaps is the case for the original recipients, who need to be reminded about this stuff). For the employees who’ve seen this before–whether you’re unsure about plans for the future or are getting ready to head over to JPMorgan–please note that the guidelines found within should probably be heeded even after you leave BSC. For Jamie Dimon– who clearly had no idea what he was getting himself into– it’s not too late! You can still back out of this thing. Or, at the very least, start making some calls to ensure that the Bear employees you’ve fired your own to make room for are housed in a quarantined area…like Citigroup.
Supposedly, the lawyer who “mistakenly” included the clause about JPMorgan being responsible for Bear’s losses regardless of whether or not the deal goes through is “no longer with the firm,” as of this morning. For the life of me, I can’t imagine why. Personally, we feel he injected a much needed dose of comic relief in that place.
And let me just add:
JPMorgan may lay off up to 4,000 of its own in the coming months. About half of the cuts are said to be related to making room for those “star” Bear Stearns employees replacing their Dimonette counterparts which, last we heard, included the entire bespoke correlation trading team. The other 2,000 are apparently being let go because of that whole credit crisis situation.
JPMorgan May Cut 4, 000 Jobs on Bear Deal And Markets [Reuters]