Posts filed under “M&A”

Say Good Bye to the Merrill Bull

I thought this was kinda odd: Ken Lewis, the CEO of Bank of America, who either wanted/got stuck with/was forced into owning Merrill Lynch’s herd of brokers, is doing some redecorating.

No, not John Thain’s former office, but rather, he is retouching one of the most the famous logos of the business world over the past 30 years: The Merrill Lynch bull:

The scuttlebutt is that Lewis wants to replace this:




with this:




The logo is probably the best asset Merrill Lynch has going for it! I am not so sure I would be so quick to dispose of that recognizable asset . . . notes:

Anybody who is somewhat familiar with the world of business and stock market will recognize this logo instantly. A raging bull makes for a perfect logo for a company that is “bullish on America”. . . The existing logo of the company was adopted in 1974. The logo was designed by King Casey Designs for Marketing, Inc. (now King-Casey Inc). Three years earlier, the company had come up with a marketing campaign “Merrill Lynch is bullish on America” during a baseball World Series. So the designers might have derived the inspiration from that campaign.

Hat tip:

Category: Corporate Management, M&A, Psychology

Excerpts: Nasty Fed Emails

Last night, we mentioned the Fed’s emails trashing BofA CEO Ken Lewis. This morning, the WSJ released excerpts — you can find them in the Think Tank. Great snarky stuff . . .

Category: Bailouts, Federal Reserve, M&A

Fed Emails: Ken Lewis “Reckless”

The WSJ reports on Congressman Edolphus Towns unearthing of emails documents in which the Fed Chief trashes Ken Lewis’ attempt to squirm out of the Merrill acquisition. Federal Reserve officials sharply criticized Bank of America Corp. and its Chief Executive Kenneth Lewis in emails to each other after the bank tried to pull out of…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Federal Reserve, M&A

Too Few Banks, Too Many Giants

I have repeatedly mentioned Too Big To Succeed as a cause of the most recent crisis, but have you ever wondered HOW we got that way? One obvious suspect has been the easy M&A environment of the past 20 years. Instead of a very competitive market where mergers for sheer size sake is discouraged, the…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Credit, M&A, Regulation

The Prisoners Dilemma: John Thain vs Ken Lewis

“Regulators are supposed to tell you to obey the law, not to disobey the law. If you’re the CEO, your first obligation is not to your regulator, it’s to your institution and shareholders.”

-Jonathan R. Macey, deputy dean of Yale Law School


I have not commented on the allegations by Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis that he was forced into making a disastrous acquisition of Merrill Lynch.

Why? Because they appeared to me be utter and shameless nonsense, an attempt to worm out of responsibility.  Indeed, the very statements by Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis appeared to be excuse-making for a lousy acquisition (which Bof A has quite the history of). Its the sort of weasely responsibility evading CEO speak we have come to expect these days. To be blunt, I was astonished anyone took them very seriously.

Yet they were taken seriously, by quite a few people — including a huge front page Wall Street Journal article. The mere accusation means that we are likely to see former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson — a major cause of the credit crisis and a horrific bailout steward — up for a major grilling in Congress.

This morning, in the same WSJ venue, we learn that many of the statements Ken Lewis made under oath were directly contradicted by former Merrill CEO John Thain (but not under oath). Thain claims these understandings were in in writing.

One of these  two CEOs is lying, and if its the guy who was doing so in sworn testimony, he may have a very big problem on his hands.

Read More

Category: Bailouts, Legal, M&A, Regulation, Taxes and Policy

IBM to Buy Sun Micro?

Hmmmm: Sun Microsystems Inc. surged the most ever in German trading after the Wall Street Journal reported International Business Machines Corp. is in talks to buy the company for at least $6.5 billion. Sun Microsystems jumped as much as 61 percent to 6 euros in Frankfurt trading. The offer would value Sun’s stock at more…Read More

Category: M&A, Technology

Potential Pharma Mergers

Via NYT Source: Big Drug Makers May Seek to Fill Holes in Roster NATASHA SINGER and DUFF WILSON NYT, February 24, 2009

Category: Digital Media, M&A

Sam Zell’s Commercial Real Estate Debacles (by City)

via NYT > Source: Sam Zell’s Empire, Underwater in a Big Way CHARLES V. BAGLI NYT, February 6, 2009

Category: Digital Media, M&A, Markets, Real Estate

Ken Lewis Learns There’s a New Sheriff in Town

Fascinating front page WSJ article on the tactics used by Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, Treasury Secy Hank Paulson to “persuade” Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis who the new sheriff in town was: “Kenneth Lewis is getting a hard lesson in the new balance of power between Washington and Wall Street. The Bank of America…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Corporate Management, Derivatives, M&A

Layoff City

Caterpillar: 20,000 Pfizer: 19,000 (10% reduction), plus additional layoffs due to merger with Wyeth: Sprint Nextel: 8,000 Home Depot: 7,000 Philips: 6,000 jobs ~~~ Bloomberg reports 74,000 job cuts today alone as “sales withered and construction slowed amid a global economic recession.” Before today, at least 15 companies announced they planned to eliminate 93,000 positions…Read More

Category: Employment, M&A