Bear Stearns, the troubled US investment bank may soon find the People’s Republic of China among its key shareholders. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Jiang Dingzhi, vice chairman China Banking Regulatory Commission confirmed reports of China Citic Bank holding preliminary discussion with Bear Stearns for a stake in the Wall Street firm. China Citic Bank is a division of China Citic Group, an investment arm of the Chinese government. Bear Stearns’s Tokyo spokesperson refused to comment on the story.
Bear suffered heavy trading losses when the US sub prime residential mortgage market crumbled the past summer. At its worst, the company saw its market cap cut by nearly 40 percent. The stock has since recovered somewhat as the credit market has stabilized for the time being, albeit at a much lower level. One man’s misery is another’s opportunity. Institutional investors including Bank of America, Wachovia Corp and even Warrant Buffet controlled Berkshire Hathaway are reportedly interested in acquiring a piece of Bear Stearns. At this stage, it’s still anyone’s game, but with strong political allies such as Chucky Schumer and Lindy Graham sitting on Capitol Hill, Citic definitely has the inside track.
Jay Sheng is Shanghaiist’s Business Editor. Email tips, news and gossip about business in Shanghai and China to biz at shanghaiist.com.