Dimon is Playing the Bear Stearns Deal Perfectly

JPMorgan’s CEO, James Dimon, is playing the markets, press and Bears Stearns investors perfectly. He knows exactly what he is doing and is executing with precision. Yesterday we learned that JPMorgan sweetened the deal now to $10 USD a share, up from a shocking $2 original bid. Dimon was quoted in the Wall Street Journal as saying, ‘We took another crack at it to get it just right.’ Mr. Dimon is mastering the art of the spin.

Our theory is that Dimon knew all along that a $2 bid would have tremendous shock and awe value. In fact, he was counting on it. What better way to steal acquire Bear Stearns’ stock than to quintuple your original offer a week after the investors and the press couldn’t talk about it enough? Current Bear Stearns shareholders and investment bank employees had already calculated the fortune that got flushed down the toilet – now, hopeful again, they would be thrilled with any double digit stock price. A classic negotiating tactic is playing out before our eyes and, for most, the offer change comes as big news. We’re thinking this approach could go even further.

In mid-March, a beaten up Bear Stearn’s stock was nearly $60 a share. To think that JPMorgan (or anyone else for that matter) could pick it up for even $20 a share was unfathomable at that point. Now, even if Dimon takes another “crack at it,” he’ll be pleased as punch to take the stock at $15 a share – especially with the aid of the Fed. Dimon knows the potential upside and he’s already protected JPMorgan from the downside.

If JPMorgan’s target price for Bear Stearns was $12-15 a share all along, then anything less than that is simply icing on a very sweet cake.

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