June 5, 2008 / 4:50 AM / in 10 years

Bear Stearns Merchant Banking to be spun off-WSJ

June 5 (Reuters) - Bear Stearns Cos’ private-equity arm Bear Stearns Merchant Banking is expected to announce on Thursday it will spin off into an independent company with JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) as its largest investor, the Wall Street Journal said.

    JPMorgan will assume around $1 billion of investments and commitments, the newspaper said, citing people familiar with the matter.

    JPMorgan completed its acquisition of Bear Stearns over the weekend for a fire-sale price, after the latter collapsed under the weight of the credit crisis and suffered the equivalent of a bank run.

    Bear Stearns Merchant Banking manages about $5 billion, and is lead by Chief Executive John Howard. The division is known for investments in the retail and consumer-products businesses, the newspaper said. (Reporting by Varsha Tickoo in Bangalore; Editing by Louise Heavens)

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