JPMorgan Boosts Bid for Bear Stearns, Looks to Lock Down Deal
Confirming rumors that had swirled since late last week, JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Bear Stearns confirmed Monday morning that JPMorgan's bidding price for Bear Stearns had more than tripled, as CEO Jamie Dimon looks to win the approval of Bear's shareholders for the deal. Many existing shareholders, particularly Bear Stearns employees, had balked at the original $2 per share offer. Under the revised terms, each share of Bear Stearns common stock would be exchanged for 0.21753 shares of JPMorgan Chase common stock -- up from the 0.05473 shares originally negotiated -- reflecting an implied value of approximately $10 per share of Bear Stearns common stock based on the closing price of JPMorgan Chase common stock on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. In a move that likely outmaneuvers some existing shareholders, who have said they want to hold out for even more, JPMorgan also said it will purchase a 39.5 percent stake in Bear Stearns via newly-issued shares, without seeking shareholder approval. The gigantic stake likely locks the deal into place, sources have told Housing Wire in commenting on the proposal. Bear Stearns' directors have indicated their intention to vote in favor of the amended deal. Bloomberg estimates that the board controls roughly 3 percent of shares, meaning that Dimon needs less than 10 percent of outstanding investors to vote in favor of the transaction to push it through. "We believe the amended terms are fair to all sides and reflect the value and risks of the Bear Stearns franchise," said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of JPMorgan Chase, "and bring more certainty for our respective shareholders, clients, and the marketplace. We look forward to a prompt closing and being able to operate as one company." The original deal included $30 billion in "special financing" from the Federal Reserve. Both firms said Monday that the Fed's funding of the deal had dropped to $29 billion, with the first $1 billion of losses to be absorbed by JPMorgan -- an indication that the Fed implicitly had signed off on the revision, although no statement from government officials was available at the time this story was published. Shares in Bear Stearns more than doubled, and were trading at $12.23 on Monday afternoon; traders were clearly betting that another possible raise to the deal price could be forced. Disclosure: The author held no positions in any publicly-traded firm mentioned in this story when it was originally published. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.