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The Last Days of Lehman Brothers (TV Movie 2009) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • The heads of Wall Street's biggest investment banks were summoned to an evening meeting by the US Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, to discuss the plight of another - Lehman Brothers. After six months' turmoil in the world's financial markets, Lehman Brothers was on life support and the government was about to pull the plug. Lehman CEO, Dick Fuld, recently sidelined in a boardroom coup, spends the weekend desperately trying to resuscitate his beloved company through a merger with Bank of America or UK-based Barclays. But without the financial support of Paulson and Lehman's fiercest competitors, Fuld's empire - and with it, the stability of the world economy - teeters on the verge of extinction.


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Synopsis

  • Drama inspired by the real events that took place on the weekend of 12 September 2008 - when the Lehman Brothers went to the wall. As the drama begins, confidence in the bank has plunged. Its clearing bank is demanding more collateral, its attempts to raise money from a Korean bank stall and credit agencies are warning that if it doesn't raise more capital it will be downgraded. At 6pm on 12 September, in an incredibly tense atmosphere, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson assembles Wall Street's finance titans at the Federal Reserve Building in downtown Manhattan. All the big executives are present - apart from the CEO of Lehman, Dick Fuld, who remains in his office. Paulson delivers the harsh message that there will be no government bailout and that it is in everybody's interests that a private-sector solution be found in the form of a merger with either Bank of America or Barclays, both of whom are showing interest. Meanwhile, the CEO of Merrill Lynch, John Thain, is being urged to consider what will happen if Wall Street saves Lehman Brothers. His own firm is also under threat. Later that night, Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America, tells Fuld that he can't buy Lehman without government assistance, which is not forthcoming. On Saturday, Wall Street pulls together a plan to backstop Lehman Brothers so that another institution can buy them without having to shoulder all their bad debts. In a side deal, Merrill Lynch and Bank of America strike a bargain that will see them merge by Monday morning. Lehman waits through the weekend for news that Barclays are riding to the rescue. This news comes early on Sunday and it looks like the crisis has been averted. But one hurdle remains: to ink a Lehman deal, Barclays requires the blessing of the UK's Financial Services Authority. Paulson speaks to London. And the devastating news is: no deal. [D-Man2010]

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