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Two Ways to Read $2 a Bear-Stearns Share

There are two ways to read last night's sale of Bear Stearns to JPMorganChase for $2 a share:

  1. There were no other bidders. Bear Stearns only other option was to file for bankruptcy this morning. And Bear Stearns's executive were convinced that that was not an option--that not playing along meant that everybody everywhere would look with glee on the filing of every criminal fraud charge against them anyone could think of.
  2. Even with the Federal Reserve offering a put on the worst $30 billion of Bear Stearns assets, there is so much garbage in the closet that $2 a share is a fair price.

The market this morning believes in (2). I tend to believe in (1)--especially as JPMorgan is said to have set aside up to $6 billion to deal with litigation when Bear Stearns's shareholders and others claim they got a raw deal...