Bear Stearns, Fortress Talked Merger

Jan 10 2008 | 5:22pm ET

A proposed merger between Bear Stearns and alternative investments giant Fortress Investment Group fell apart in recent weeks, as the bloodied Wall Street giant seeks to turn around its recent run of bad fortune.

In the weeks before former Bear CEO James Cayne announced his resignation, the firms held preliminary talks on a tie-up, the Financial Times reports. But discussions ended without a deal, due to tax complications and disagreements about the price.

The Fortress failure is at least the second try by Bear to add a high-profile alternatives manager to burnish its image. When troubled first surfaced at two hedge funds managed by the firm this summer, Bear officials approached Mark Lasry of Avenue Capital about taking a stake in the hedge fund. Under the proposal, Lasry would have been put in charge of Bear Stearns Asset Management. Morgan Stanley currently owns a 20% stake in New York-based Avenue.

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