Interest Rate Roundup

Friday, March 14, 2008

Bear Stearns getting a JPMorgan/NY Fed rescue/bailout

I can't believe these headlines: JPMorgan and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are apparently arranging a rescue/bailout for Bear Stearns. The details from dueling press releases:

FROM JPMorgan:

"Today, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced that, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, it has agreed to provide secured funding to Bear Stearns, as necessary, for an initial period of up to 28 days. Through its Discount Window, the Fed will provide non-recourse, back-to-back financing to JPMorgan Chase.

"Accordingly, JPMorgan Chase does not believe this transaction exposes its shareholders to any material risk. JPMorgan Chase is working closely with Bear Stearns on securing permanent financing or other alternatives for the company."

FROM Bear Stearns:

"The Bear Stearns Companies Inc. announced today it reached an agreement with JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPMC) to provide a secured loan facility for an initial period of up to 28 days allowing Bear Stearns to access liquidity as needed. Bear Stearns also announced that it is talking with JPMorgan Chase & Co. regarding permanent financing or other alternatives.

"Alan Schwartz, president and chief executive officer of The Bear Stearns Companies Inc., said, "Bear Stearns has been the subject of a multitude of market rumors regarding our liquidity. We have tried to confront and dispel these rumors and parse fact from fiction. Nevertheless, amidst this market chatter, our liquidity position in the last 24 hours had significantly deteriorated. We took this important step to restore confidence in us in the marketplace, strengthen our liquidity and allow us to continue normal operations.

"The company can make no assurance that any strategic alternatives will be successfully completed."

UPDATE: The Federal Reserve just released its own statement. Here is the text:

"The Federal Reserve is monitoring market developments closely and will continue to provide liquidity as necessary to promote the orderly functioning of the financial system. The Board voted unanimously to approve the arrangement announced by JPMorgan Chase and Bear Stearns this morning."


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