Joe Lewis calls me from Lyford Cay in the sunny Bahamas to tell me that he has bought into Bear Stearns the serial visitor to the New York Bankruptcy Court - a total of 8.1 Mn. shares (closed yesterday NYSE US$107.50) which makes him the biggest shareholder after founder James Cayne (5.8%) and Putnam Investment Management . Joe, 70 next birthday, who seems to have missed out on a knighthood, or even a baronetcy is a native Londoner but spends most of his time running his 140 company plus empire from the poolside . He tells me he has has been building up a share stake in Bear Stearns from since early August.Aug. 6 to Sept. 4 speending US$860 Mn. (ish)
Checking the SEC filings, they show he has accumulated a stake of at least 7% in the company in the period Aug. 6 to Sept. 4 . The share chart below shows the impact f his steady purchases and the intital jump when he started buying on August 4th afer the 35% drop when they disclosed their hedge fund problems and started losing CEO's.
Best known as a shareholder in ENIC sports and Media group which controls struggling Premiershit Division Tottenham Hotspur (The club's motto is Audere est Facere = "To Dare is To Do") he has many, many finger in many, many pies, currency trading (Sold his currency trader HotSpot FX for US$77 Mn. to Knight Capital Group in Jan 2006), Florida Golf courses Alcatraz Brewing, and operates through a range of offshore vehicles like Tavistock group, and used entities named Aquarian, Cambria, Darcin, Mandarin and Nivon in this instance to make his stake.
Joe was off to the golf course - a major passion - he owns two Florida clubs "Lake Nona" club (resident Ernie Els) and the "Isleworth Club" (resident Tiger Woods). He is presently developing a new golf community in the Bahamas (the opposite and currently unfashionable end from Nassau) called "Albany Golf & Beach Club" with these two, who are apparently quite good at the game. (Golf is a game where you hit a small ball into a hole some hundreds of yards away with a stick)
Bloomberg put him at 486 on their list of billionaires with a net worth of US$2.5 squillion
BS have been talked about as a quarry for takeover and there is wild specualtion in certain quarters of North London as to whether Joe is serious or ready to sell out when the big bidder comes calling . I ask him but he says nothing. As per.
For more fascinating information on Bear Stearns see post on September 1st 2007 -
Pic of property at Isleworth Country Club and Golf Course, a Tavistock development - Carl Hiassen eat your heart out.