Somehow, in the space of about 100 hours, the value of a share of Bear Stearns, one of the nation’s most storied investment banks, skidded from about $67 to a bargain-basement $2. On Monday, just to twist the knife, some wit taped a $2 bill to the glass doors of Bear’s headquarters.
How could this happen?
It is hard to say it was an accident. Bear Stearns’s stunning downfall and subsequent sale to JPMorgan Chase on Sunday was orchestrated by some of the most powerful people on Wall Street and in Washington. It will go down either as a heroic rescue of the financial system or grand theft, Wall Street style. Maybe it was a bit of both.
Make no mistake: this was one of the greatest corporate euthanizations of all time. And Wall Street played its own gleeful role in it.