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JPMorgan hopes equity bridges go extinct

July 18, 2007

dinosaur.jpg

So how does JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon really feel about equity bridge loans? He said in a second quarter earnings call that he hopes the loans go the way of the “dinosaur.”  Equity bridge loans appear only at the height of a leveraged buyout frenzy, when investment banks are throwing themselves at the feet of private equity firms–serial dealmakers in need of bank financing and the biggest fee generators on Wall Street.

LBO firms, in an effort to leave rivals out of deals, tell the banks that they want them to cough up part of a deal’s equity check, in addition to financing the deal’s debt. Bankers say it’s a high risk, low return proposition. Dimon appears to agree.

Below is part of what Dimon had to say about the loans on Wednesday. For a longer transcript of his answer, click here.

I think equity bridges are a terrible idea. I think they’re a bad — I think they’re a bad financial policy. I don’t think they’re good for the banks. I don’t think they’re good for the private equity guys, so I hope they go the way of the dinosaur because they’re basically a one-sided put on our balance sheet. I also think the street is topped up on them. There is only so much you can do and feel comfortable with. It is kind of silly to take that downside risk and have none of the upside potential.

(Reporting by Tim McLaughlin)

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