23 March 2008

Bear Stearns staff auction off teddies, T-shirts, memorabilia on eBay

Search 'Bear Stearns' on eBay

WASHINGTON (AFP) — Bear Stearns' go-getting investment bankers used to chase million-dollar deals, but staff at the now hard up Wall Street bank have resorted to auctioning off Bear Stearns-branded memorabilia to raise funds.

Bear Stearns workers have put a range of mementos up for sale online at eBay in recent days following the rapid demise of one of America's largest investment banks which fell victim to a credit crunch sweeping the financial markets.

"Be the first to get your paws on classic Bear Stearns memorabilia," touts the description for one of several stuffed toy bears on sale at a bargain 5.50 dollars.

"Do not delay -- bail a Bear out today!" the ad urges, adding that the first bear purchased comes with a free New York skyscraper worth around one billion dollars, depending on availability.

Bear Stearns agreed to sell itself last Sunday to JPMorgan Chase for a paltry 236 million dollars, after rival banks stopped trading with it, in a deal that shocked many Wall Street veterans.

The takeover deal included Bear Stearns' corporate headquarters which analysts believe is worth about one billion dollars.

Many of the bank's 14,000 staff are expected to lose their jobs as a result of its downfall, and the ad for the toy bear warned that potential purchasers would have to pay up front.

Other collectibles being touted include white T-shirts emblazoned with:"I invested my life savings in Bear Stearns and all I have left is this lousy t-shirt."

A medium-sized T-shirt can be bought for 17.99 dollars, a Bear Stearns' cafeteria card is offered for sale at a mere 11 cents, and a bank identification card holder can be snapped up for just one cent.

Budding bankers meanwhile might be tempted to rifle through their small change for one of the last Global Equity Research reports issued by Bear Stearns, also priced at a tempting one cent.

The report, dated March 12, offers insights into the weak dollar, skyhigh crude oil prices and possible future tax hikes.

Wall Street treasure hunters can also shop online for Bear Stearns-branded bags, fleece jackets, golfing jackets, towels and corporate posters among other items.

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