Bear Stearns at 2.4% of Book Value

Could this be how bad the recession in the US is right now?

Bear Stearns Cos., one of the largest global investment banks and securities trading and and brokerage firms in the world, entered into a deal to sell its business to JP Morgan Chase & Co., another investment banking company, for 236 million dollars or equivalent to $2 per share, which translates to only around 2.4% of its book value.

Bloomberg and other business news magazines and websites are all over the issue.

To illustrate how bad this deal is, the deal was sealed last Sunday (March 16, 2008) at $2, Bear Stearns stock last Friday (March 14) was trading at $30, more than $60 last week, and more than $150 last year. Moreover, the Company reported a book value of $84.09 in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Furthermore, the total sales price was at $236 million when the real estate value of its Manhattan headquarters alone is valued at around $1.2 billion. That is how the company is doing with its credit transactions.

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Overall, this is a liquidity problem turning into a total disaster for such a big company. Wikipedia has an update as to how these things happened, about the subprime mortgage hedge fund crisis, and about the JP Morgan takeover.

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