Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Thain says put shareholders first

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John Thain says he put shareholders first and his interests second in deciding to sell Merrill Lynch to Bank of America.

Thain, speaking at the Reuters Global Finance Summit in New York, said a deal to sell a partial stake in Merrill Lynch to Goldman Sachs would have been better for him, but the sale of the entire Wall Street firm to Bank of America was the best outcome for shareholders.

Over a fateful weekend in September 2008, as Lehman hurtled toward bankruptcy, AIG floundered and the financial system looked into the abyss, Merrill held discussions with Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley for various transactions, Thain said.

Initial discussions with Bank of America involved either the sale of the entire company or a 9.9 percent stake and a multibillion credit line, the former Merrill CEO said.

from DealZone:

Diamonds in the rough

Diamond pictureSomewhere out there are ailing companies in need of a turnaround specialist. These experts -- also known as company doctors -- parachute into troubled businesses to turn their business around.

Funds, such as Oaktree Capital, HIG Capital and Apollo Management, specialise in buying up companies in distress (either through buying equity or debt) and turning them round.

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