Drexel Burnham

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Group.png Drexel Burnham  
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Formation1935
Extinction1994
Membership• Fred Joseph
• Michael Milken
investment bank with unethical and sometimes illegal practices, even by Wall Street standards

Drexel Burnham Lambert was an American investment bank that was forced into bankruptcy in February 1990 due to its involvement in illegal activities in the junk bond market, driven by senior executive Michael Milken. They were responsible for many high profile leveraged buyouts of many large corporations in the United States during the 1980s. [1]

The firm's aggressive culture led many Drexel employees to stray into unethical, and sometimes illegal, conduct. Milken and his colleagues at the high-yield bond department believed the securities laws hindered the free flow of trade. Eventually, Drexel's excessive ambition led it to abuse the junk bond market and become involved in insider trading. On February 1990, Drexel was forced into Chapter 11 bankruptcy by the chairmen of the New York Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission. It was the first Wall Street firm to be forced into bankruptcy since the Great Depression.

Activities

Drexel Burnham was the investment fund that financed KKR & Co's takeover of RJR Johnson for $24.88 Billion in 1988.[2]

On November 14, 1986, longtime Milken client Ivan Boesky, pleaded guilty to SEC charges of insider-trading violations based on allegations made by investment banker Dennis Levine.


References