Hit & Run

Game Over, Man

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Bear Stearns is about to get Raptured.

Bear Stearns Cos. was closing in on a deal Sunday afternoon to sell itself to J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., as worries deepened that the financial crisis of confidence could spread if Bear failed to find a buyer by Monday morning.

People familiar with the discussions said all sides were pushing hard to complete an agreement before financial markets in Asia open for Monday trading. "None of these things is done until they're done," Treasury Department spokeswoman Michele Davis said Sunday afternoon. "But I think everyone's expectation is sometime in the early evening hopefully" the deal will be done.

Terms of the deal were still being hammered out Sunday afternoon. Reflecting the dire situation at Bear, the company is likely to fetch considerably less on a per-share basis than its stock price of $30 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading Friday at 4 p.m. Last year, the shares hit $170.

Our cultural doomsayers have been predicting something like this for years. The surprise, for many of them, is that it wasn't China that pulled out the rug. To debate: What should the Fed do? (Now that Ron Paul won't be president we're more or less stuck with it.)

Some thoughts from occasional reason contributor Megan McArdle.