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Bear Stearns takeover hits workers

Janet Babin Mar 17, 2008

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: At Bear Stearns headquarters in New York this morning, there was a $2 bill taped to the revolving doors. A grim reminder of the takeover price for the employees of the economy. There are 14,000 of them. And their futures are uncertain at best. Marketplace’s Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.

Janet Babin: Bear Stearns traders and dealers were told this morning that they are now JP Morgan employees. And their company stock — which had hit highs of $170 a share last summer — is now worth just $2 a share.

Hugh Johnson is chairman at money management firm Johnson Illington Advisers. He says Bear Stearns employees could lose more than just their salaries.

Hugh Johnson: Most of the employees had a significant percentage or a meaningful percentage of their assets tied up in Bear Stearns stock. And now of course there’s been that fire sale, and the value of their nest egg has been reduced considerably.

Johnson says many Bear Stearns employees have probably had their resumes ready for months. But with Wall Street in the throes of a credit crisis and recession looming, they may just be jumping from one sinking ship to another.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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