Forum Summary: The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc.
A Forum program for shareholders of The Bear Stearns Companies, Inc. (NYSE:BSC) has been initiated to define the alternatives they may consider in relation to the company’s proposed acquisition by JP Morgan Chase.
The significant value issues that concern Bear Stearns shareholders must necessarily be addressed in a context of broader public interest in essential property rights, and in assuring fair and orderly processes to support those rights. It should be understood, though, that the Forum’s purpose is to focus only on the decisions that may be made by Bear Stearns shareholders, as investors, and on providing the information they need to properly consider those investor decisions. Participants in this Forum should expect to contribute to the development of public policy and marketplace standards only through the precedents that are established with Bear Stearns.
To determine the nature of practical alternatives that might be considered by shareholders, the Forum is expected to start by examining the legitimacy of the extraordinary processes by which JP Morgan Chase has apparently been given effective control of Bear Stearns assets and operations. One of the first planned projects, for example, is a “workshop” of investors and legal experts to prepare a report of alternatives that Forum participants may consider to challenge the validity of an agreement to transfer 39.5% of Bear Stearns stock without shareholder approval. Other Forum projects will be developed, of course, in response to evolving participant interests.
The Forum will be open, free of charge, to all Bear Stearns shareholders, whether institutional or individual, and to any fiduciaries or professionals concerned with their investment decisions. As stated in the “Conditions of Participation” which are publicly posted on the Forum web site, the Forum will be conducted for the purpose of providing shareholders with access to information and a free exchange of views on issues relating to their evaluations of alternatives. Participants are expected to make independent use of information obtained through the Forum, subject to the privacy rights of other participants. It is a Forum rule that participants will not be identified or quoted without their explicit permission.
April 14, 2008
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