Bear Stearns Emails Show Its Financing Breaking Away


In 2008, JPMorgan Chase paid $2 a share to buy all of Bear Stearns. CreditShannon Stapleton/Reuters

Within weeks of the shocking collapse of Bear Stearns in March 2008, I started interviewing former executives of the firm to try to figure out what had just happened and why.

One of those executives was Paul Friedman, a senior managing director who had been at the firm for 27 years and who oversaw Bear’s fixed-income repo desk. His job, especially in the last year or so of Bear’s existence, was to make sure the company could finance itself on a daily basis in the short-term debt markets. While Bear had about $18 billion in cash on its balance sheet, it needed more than $75 billion in cash on a daily basis to keep operating. For years, making sure that amount was on hand had been a perfunctory, check-the-box assignment…

Bear Stearns Emails Show Its Financing Breaking Away

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