The WSJ wraps up its three-part series on the Bear Stearns Wall Street clusterfuck today, and it is a masterpiece of financial journalism that's a lock for a Pulitzer. Uh, not that we care. In the final installment, various cutthroat maneuvers lead to JP Morgan's bitter $2-per-share salvation of the troubled Bear. And it's clear that enemies of JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon (such as: formerly wealthy people who work at Bear Stearns!) were very forthcoming sources on this story, because two of the best anecdotes in the piece do nothing but make him look like a snippy asshole:
On a conference call after the buyout agreement is reached:
Messrs. Geithner and Dimon led off with some brief remarks, noting that J.P. Morgan would be guaranteeing Bear Stearns's debts and that if the pact hadn't come together, the market impact may have been catastrophic. During the question-and-answer session, Citigroup Inc.'s new CEO, Vikram Pandit, spoke up.
Mr. Pandit — who did not initially identify himself — asked a shrewd but technical question: How would the deal affect the risk to Bear Stearns's trading partners on certain long-term contracts?
The query irked Mr. Dimon. "Who is this?" he snapped. Mr. Pandit identified himself as "Vikram." Offended that Mr. Pandit was taking up time with what he considered granular inquiries, Mr. Dimon shot back, "Stop being such a jerk." He added that Citigroup "should thank us" for staving off further mayhem on Wall Street.
Dimon rallies his new employees:
Standing on the dais with two senior lieutenants, Mr. Dimon tried to strike a conciliatory tone.
Bear Stearns's "shotgun marriage" to J.P. Morgan "is not the sort of thing we set out to do," he told the audience. Noting the pain for Bear Stearns managers facing the prospect of unemployment and big losses on their Bear Stearns stock, he added: "We can't begin to imagine how difficult this is."
In the tense question-and-answer session that followed, Ed Moldaver, a stocky, 40-year-old broker, stood up.
"This isn't a shotgun marriage," he said. "This is more like a rape."
As some in the room shook their heads and muttered uncomfortably, Mr. Dimon stared stonily at the crowd.