What is for sale on Wall St.? It depends on who one wants to believe. Some rumors are false and may be planted for nefarious reasons. Others are true, but their truth is not known yet.
According to The Telegraph, Barclays (BCS) is shopping for an investment bank. The reasons are strange. It wants to raise money to make its balance sheet stronger. Management thinks getting the money would be easier if Barclays was creating a new business. Getting a new, large new financial business might fit that bill.
According to The Telegraph "Lehman would add to Barclays Capital’s existing stronghold in the debt market – which could mean bloody job cuts – but would massively bolster its presence in the US."
The news bolsters an argument that executives in the financial district do not want to hear. There are still too many banks and too many people chasing too few deal. The M&A business is in trouble because of a bad economy. LBO deals have dried up due to lack of credit. Derivatives and alternative investments are virtually gone because of the mortgage paper catastrophe.
JP Morgan (JPM) took 7,000 people out of Bear Stearns without blinking an eye. Jamie Dimon understands that he does not need all those bankers in the present environment and will not be likely to need them in the near future.
The second tier brokerages are likely to lose their independence. The open question is who will buy them.
Douglas A. McIntyre