Bank of America elopes from the wedding Monday, September 15, 2008
If the FT headlines are correct, Bank of America may have entered the weekend looking to "marry" ugly Lehman but ended up running away with the prettier Merrill Lynch.
Both BofA and Merrill were at talks at the Fed over the weekend looking over the remains of Lehman. John Thain evidently decided, with his firm apparently next in line to be the target for attack, to tempt BofA away. Hence when the news first broke that Lehman had been left standing alone by BofA many assumed it was because they felt Lehman was too toxic. Now it appears a better catch caught their eye.
The staggering thing about the deal is that John Thain has been insisting all year that Merrill's is well capitalised and in good shape. However, his deal making skills and sharp mind must have prompted him to realise that this was an opportunity that may not come along again and that better to sell now than wait and see.