Friday, March 14, 2008

I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on the Bear Stearns meltdown today

It was a cold, gray day here in Colorado. A cold front moved in from the west and we had snow flurries all day,so it was the perfect weather to stay in and blog. So blog I did. I also watched the meltdown of Bear Stearns with a sense of sad deja vu.

I went through something similar during my days at Salomon Brothers and watching this spectacle brought back a lot of memories. It was during the days of the Treasury Auction Scandal. Our lines started drying up, customers started unwinding positions, corporate finance sphincters started tightening. It was really frightening. Much more frightening than the crash of 87. I remember talking to my contacts in the cage during the run on the firm's financing structure. It was like watching someone's lifeblood ooze away. Everybody was scared. It was palpable. You could feel it in the air. From the lowly clerks, to the Managing Directors. It was very close...but somehow, by the grace of God we were able to pull it out and lived to deal another, Bear Stearns didn't.

Another of the old firms bites the dust.

Some links discussing the fall of Bear Stearns can be found beneath the fold in case you're interested.

I got the chills reading this. Man, it brought it all back.

How feverish market pulled lifeline from falling giant.

The Prime Broker business is a firm's lifeblood.

Hedge funds fleeing Bear's prime broker business.

Wall Street: Where men have big balls...(but they are nothing compared to our troops. Although, I did know a couple of ex-Marines who traded bonds...)

Surprise punt on Wall Street could cost billionaire $750 million.

About the bail's the biggest bailout since 1998 when more than a dozen lenders provided $3.6 billion to save Long-Term Capital Management. Oddly enough, I knew a couple of the guys at Long Term Capital, too.

Bear Stearns in $3.2 billion bailout fund.

The question is - will it be enough? Bear Stearns still struggles after receiving big bailout.