Drexel Burnham Lambert declares bankruptcy


60 Broad Street, the former home of the now-defunct Drexel Burnham Lambert. Founded by IW Tubby Burnham as a retail brokerage which expanded into investment banking only to be brought down by 1980's SEC investigations of insider trading, stock manipulation, Ivan Boesky's revelations, and Michael Milken's junk bonds and declaring bankruptcy in 1990. Drexel was a tight-knit ''family'' that had risen from an also-ran of a firm to a powerhouse wielding astonishing control in the mid-1980s over the market it created in high-yield, high-risk junk bonds. Reigning from an X-shaped desk, Milken transformed finance. He helped turn junk bonds, once a murky backwater for risky corporate debt, into an ocean of money by persuading investors they were missing out on untapped profit. Junk—a word he and his acolytes loathed—let swashbuckling raiders borrow enough to take over some of America's best-known companies while it bankrolled a generation of entrepreneurs. It made Drexel executives and their allies rich, establishment competitors jealous, and regulators skeptical.As recently as 1986, Drexel, the second-largest private firm on Wall Street with more than 10,000 employees, was making $500 million in profits. But that was before the firm became the target of the biggest investigation ever of insider trading and other crimes on Wall Street. In December 1988, facing the possibility of a racketeering indictment that Drexel executives feared would destroy the firm, Drexel pleaded guilty to six felony counts of breaking securities laws, paid a $650 million fine and fired Michael Milken, architect of the firm`s junk bond success. Milken has since been indicted on 98 securities fraud counts and spent 22 monthes in jail.

Bankrupt, Feb, 1990
Defunct, 1994

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