Who told the NYT’s Jenny Anderson about Stan O’Neal’s abortive attempt to float
with Wachovia? She sources her scoop to "people close to the beleaguered
Wall Street firm," which is not very helpful, but it seems clear that she
and her colleague Landon Thomas spoke to one or more Merrill directors.
Why would any Merrill Lynch director leak this story to the NYT? Especially
after all the shenanigans
at Hewlett-Packard, one would think that a director would think twice about
taking such a step. But maybe the board is so packed with O’Neal cronies that
going public like this is the only way for a director unhappy with the CEO to
That said, I’m not convinced that an informal approach to Wachovia is much
of a hanging offense, especially not compared to little things like, oh, losing
$8 billion on toxic structured products. If the latter isn’t going to result
in O’Neal’s ouster, I’m not sure that the former will.