What's next for Bear Stearns? A Wall Street institution for the better part of a century, it is now scrambling to find a buyer. Its best hope is JP Morgan, which provided a temporary lifeline yesterday along with the Fed. But other possible suitors include Citibank and HSBC, the Wall Street Journal reports. In a sign of the times, the Journal notes that Bear's single biggest asset might be its building—the Madison Avenue digs could fetch $1.2 billion.
Bear first needs to decide whether to sell as a whole or split itself up—its prime brokerage unit, for example, might tempt some—and then figure out a value. In such a turbulent credit market, that will be difficult, and investors dispute the company’s self-proclaimed $80-a-share value. One employee invoked It’s a Wonderful Life: “Today is just that day at the Bailey Building & Loan,” he said.