Brad Feld

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$61 Million Is Still A Lot of Money

Mar 28, 2008
Category Random

Marc Andreesen has a scathing but brilliant post up today titled Congratulations, you’re paying Jimmy Cayne’s marijuana bills!  I love Marc’s analysis of what Bear Stearns would have been worth if the Federal Government hadn’t backstopped the deal with a $29 billion loan.

The US taxpayer is loaning Bear Stearns and JP Morgan Chase, Bear Stearns’ acquirer, $29 billion — just revised from $30 billion, simultaneous with JP Morgan Chase raising its acquisition price for Bear Stearns to $10/share from $2.

Without that $29 billion of taxpayer money, Jimmy Cayne’s stock would be worth $0/share, and if you multiply that by 5.66 million shares, the total would be $0.

The $29 billion taxpayer loan is almost certain to lose money as it is being used to backstop stinky assets on the Bear Stearns balance sheet — the same assets whose plummeting fall in value catalyzed Bear Stearns’ effective bankruptcy.

It is virtually certain that taxpayers are going to take some loss on that $29 billion loan.

When we do, we will have the immense satisfaction of knowing that the first $61.3 million of those losses represent a direct cash transfer from US taxpayers to Jimmy Cayne.

It will be interesting if Cayne comes to this same conclusion and gives the $61m back to the government after some of the $29 billion (say – the first $61m) gets vaporized.