Monday, Nov. 03, 2008

Joseph Lewis buys Bear Stearns stock

A lot of people lost money in Bear Stearns. Joseph Lewis puts them all to shame. The legendary currency trader, born in Britain but living in tax exile in the Bahamas, bought a 7% stake in the investment bank late last year. When the stock sank, Lewis doubled down, bringing his ownership up to 9.4%. By the time Bear collapsed in March, Lewis held 11 million shares, having paid some $1.2 billion all told. When JP Morgan Chase agreed to buy Bear for $2 a share, Lewis was looking at a loss north of a billion dollars. Later, that offer was revised to $10 a share, but even that price hit far below the average $107 Lewis paid — not to mention the $150 the stock was trading at a mere 12 months earlier.