That's right, it's our favorite Boy Toy CEO's 53rd birthday. Not sure exactly what he's got planned for tonight (feel free to suggest activities you think might be to his liking), but hopefully it'll go down without any interruptions, like last year.
By early evening, realizing that Bear's life expectancy might now be numbered not in days but hours, Schwartz hit the phones. The regulators--the S.E.C., Treasury, the Fed--had been watching the situation all day and were waiting when he called to brief them. Gary Parr, the Lazard banker, had already touched base with J. P. Morgan's C.E.O., Jamie Dimon, that afternoon, letting him know where Bear stood. J. P. Morgan was the obvious candidate for overnight cash. The two firms had long-standing ties. Their headquarters faced each other across 47th Street.
That day was Dimon's 52nd birthday, and he was celebrating with a quiet family dinner at Avra, a Greek restaurant on East 48th Street. He was irked when his private cell phone rang; it was to be used only in emergencies. On the line was Parr, who put Schwartz on as Dimon stepped outside onto the sidewalk. Schwartz quickly explained the depth of Bear's plight and said, "We really need help."
Still irked, Dimon said, "How much?"
"As much as 30 billion," Schwartz said.
"Alan, I can't do that," Dimon said. "It's too much."
"Well, could you guys buy us overnight?"
"I can't--that's impossible," Dimon replied. "There's no time to do the homework. We don't know the issues. I've got a board."
The people he should call, Dimon said, were at the Fed and the Treasury--the only place Bear could get $30 billion overnight. Still, Dimon promised to see what he could do to help. He hung up and dialed Tim Geithner at the New York Fed downtown.