Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Bank of America Merrill Lynch Bleeds Top Talent - More Bad News for a Disastrous Temasek Investment

In latest news, Deutsche Bank has hired 12 of Merrill Lynch's top bankers into its FIG (Financial Institutions Group). This news is the latest in a string of bad news to hit what must now be considered a disastrous acquisition for Bank of America, and a horrendous investment for Temasek Holdings:
Deutsche Bank Significantly Expands Global Financial Institutions Coverage

2009-02-04 01:06:01 -

Deutsche Bank today announced 12 new hires in the firm's Financial Institutions Group in its Global Banking division. The additions comprise six Managing Directors as well as a number of Directors, Vice Presidents and Associates, focused on banks and asset management client coverage. The new hires will be located in New York, London and Hong Kong.

The four senior hires are Eric Heaton, David Heaton, Richard Slimmon and Richard Gibb. Eric and David will join as Managing Directors in New York, while Richard Slimmon and Richard Gibb will join as Managing Directors in London and Hong Kong, respectively.

Also in New York, Seth Heaton and Venkat Badinehal will join as Managing Directors along with Jason Braunstein, who will join as a Director.

The team will report to Jorge Calderon, Co-Head of Global Corporate Finance Coverage and Global Head of the Financial Institutions Group at Deutsche Bank.

Indeed, not only did Merrill unveil billions more in credit losses in the fourth quarter of 2008, its top talent are leaving the firm for other banks. This leaves Bank of America holding on to a subsidiary with a vastly reduced balance sheet and a greatly weakened investment banking franchise - the crumbs of what they thought was a tasty pie.

And now, Temasek's original investment looks like an unqualified disaster. Temasek's analysts must have been relieved when John Thain pulled off a miracle sale of the MER to BAC - a sale that involved Ken Lewis greatly overpaying for what now looks like a tarnished franchise. But even the merger could not save Temasek from seeing its investment more or less evaporate in the past few months.

Since the acquisition of MER by BAC, BAC's stock price has plummeted from about $35 to about $5-$7 today.

But of course you won't ever hear about Tharman, Ho Ching, Lee Hsien Loong, or any of the other PAP top dogs talk about this investment. After all, everything should be evaluated on a "portfolio basis"...

Well, here's what i think of that nonsense argument

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