Monday 15 September 2008

Lehman Brothers Collapses

Those looking for good news on the financial markets should probably keep the radio switched off and buy no papers this morning. They probably shouldn't read this blog at the moment either. We're scrabbling around looking for the chink of light that would suggest that there might be some hope of a turnaround - unfortunately we can't find it just yet.

Lehman Brothers, the fourth largest investment bank in the US, has filed for bankruptcy. It had been in discussions with a number of entities, including Barclays, about a potential bailout. Activity had become frenetic over the weekend but, in the end, nobody bit and the world famous bank bit the big one.

It just goes to show the depth of the crisis in the US financial industry (we don't want to tell you 'we told you so' but if you read our blog on the credit crisis in February, we did indeed tell you so).

The most telling comment in the Telegraph's piece on the collapse came from Peter Sorrentino, of Huntington Asset Management who said: "The fact that no one wanted to step up with Lehman means that there's no incentive to be a hero at this point. If you buy this stuff and it's worse than you thought, they'll take you out and shoot you. The only way they can restore confidence is to find the cancer and tear it out as quickly as possible." Ouch.

On the Lehman Brothers' Homepage ( you'll currently find the following link which says: "Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Announces It Intends to File Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Petition; No Other Lehman Brothers' U.S. Subsidiaries or Affiliates, Including Its Broker-Dealer and Investment Management Subsidiaries, Are Included in the Filing." Unfortunately when we visited the link didn't work but the heading pretty much tells the story in any case. Only a severe depressive would want to read the whole filing.

There's a nice succinct blow by blow account of the last flailings of the dying monster that was Lehman Brothers on the wonderfully named 'The Bank Implode-o-Meter' blog which you'll find here.

You'll find a Telegraph report on the collapse of Lehman Brothers here. Don't read it if you want to be cheered up this overcast Monday morning.

As with all these corporate collapses we should take a few moments to remember those lower level employees who, this morning, have no work to go to and nowhere to earn money in the direct aftermath. They are the forgotten victims of the corporate misdemeanours of the past decade.

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