There's plenty of Monday morning quarterbacking over Bank of America's deal with Merrill Lynch. News articles overflow with vitriolic charges from executives barking, snarling, and lifting their legs in each other's direction.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported that some outside directors urged caution during a feverish September weekend in 2008:
I believe Mr. Lewis blew it. Had he listened to other directors, he could have crafted a far better deal for his shareholders. They suffered—massive dividend cuts and crushed share price. As the CEO, Mr. Lewis could have stopped the train wreck.
That said, I'm glad Bank of America—with whatever prodding from Uncle Sam—saved Merrill Lynch from collapse. We all saw how the capital markets reacted to Lehman's demise. Fortunately, Merrill's potential collapse will remain the stuff of fiction.