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Web chat worth more than America’s fifth largest bank

Most of you know that America’s fifth largest bank, Bear Stearns,
was sold at bargain basement prices to JP Morgan over the weekend.  The
price?  $2 a share.  That’s 90% less than the bank’s valuation last
week, and a fraction of the $117 per share value for the bank last
October.

So, JPM pays $240 million for an 85-year old institution
that, until recently, had been one of America’s financial leaders.  Why
so cheap?  Because America wanted to avoid the embarrassment of another
Northern Rock, as investors withdrew $17 billion from Bear Stearns in
just two days last week.

What gets me, to put this in context, is that a bank can be worth less than a few web pages.

Take
the three year old firm Bebo.  Bebo, with its 22 million unique
visitors who spend 40 minutes a day socially networking and sharing
tips about hair, health and celebrities, sold to AOL last week for $850
million.  That makes this website worth almost four times more than
Bear Stearns, even though Bear Stearns made over double this value in
profits in 2006.

The real shocker is when you see sites like Meebo,
an Instant Messaging aggregation service that launched in September
2005, creating more valuation than Bear Stearns.  Meebo, worth only
$60-$70 million this time last year, is raising funding and looks to
achieve a valuation this year of around $250 million.  Slightly more
than America’s fifth largest bank.

These points are discussed in depth by Matt Marshall in VentureBeat and almost made me spill my coffee this morning.

What next?

The FinanSer worth more than the Financial Times?

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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