Martin Lee @ Sg
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Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns

The dramatic collapse of MF Global in less than a week made me pick up a copy of the book, Street Fighters: The Last 72 Hours of Bear Stearns, the Toughest Firm on Wall Street for some leisurely reading over the weekend.

The financial markets are so complicated and inter-connected nowadays that it only takes a few days for a financial institution to fall into bankruptcy from a seemingly comfortable position.

In Bear Stearn’s case, the share price fell from $60 on a Thursday to a takeover price of merely $2 on Sunday which the board of Bear had no choice but to accept. The deal was later revised to $10.

I am sure that in the very near future, there will be at least a few books narrating the events at MF Global in the last few days, just like Kate Kelly’s Street Fighters did with Bear Stearns.

Some of the content in Kate’s book actually appeared originally in WJS as articles. Here’s are some portions:

Short adaption from the book: Inside the Fall of Bear Stearns.

Part 1 of a 3-part series: Lost Opportunities Haunt Final Days of Bear Stearns

Part 2 of a 3-part series: Fear, Rumors Touched Off Fatal Run on Bear Stearns

Part 3 of a 3-part series: Bear Stearns Neared Collapse Twice in Frenzied Last Days

While the book has 200+ pages, the action is pretty fast paced and I managed to work through the book in less than one night.

Now we all know that the fall of Bear Stearns is just a precursor of much worst things to come in the later part of 2008. But people outside the financial world were mostly unaware of the rapidly degenerating situation underneath Wall Street. Those who knew of course would have made a fortune during that once in a lifetime opportunity.

Food for thought: Is the fall of Dexia Bank and MF Global the precursor of more failures to come?

Leave a Comment:

Jason says 12 years ago

More bad news may be expected.

The fall of MF Global is the result of Greece debt crisis. Everyone is wondering the impact of writing off half of the debt affecting Banks. Yesterday, we have bad news coming from Italy.

From another perspective, the fall of MF Global is just another story where an American is trying to realize his own ambition and greed at the expense of a company. Americans are simply too reliance on their Govt to bail them out when they are in trouble. That’s why they made risky business decision and do not consider the consequence. Just Google US Govt bail out and you can find the history.

People were frustrated and recently they had the occupy Wall Street campaign. But sadly, their Govt made arrest.

abc says 12 years ago

You mentioned “once in a lifetime” for the opportunity that followed Bear Stearn’s collapse.
Later, you mentioned fall of Dexia and MF Global as another possible opportunity.

I think such opprtunities happen more than once a lifetime. Used to be around once in 7 years but nowadays seem much more frequent.

    Martin Lee says 12 years ago

    Yes, there are more opportunities nowadays…. time has been compressed and information flow is much faster.

patrick lim says 12 years ago

That’s the question but only God knows the answer.

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