Goldman Overpaid for Its TARP Warrants

Yesterday, Treasury released a comprehensive report on the disposition of TARP warrants through 12/31/2009. It’s a font of fascinating information–at least for fellow TARP warrant aficionados.

Treasury apparently did quite well when it negotiated with banks that wanted to repurchase their TARP warrants. I am still a fan of auctions, but you have to give Treasury credit–they did defend taxpayer interests in the negotiations.

Treasury drove an especially hard bargain with Goldman Sachs (GS). As shown in the following chart from the report, Goldman ended up paying much more than any of the estimates that Treasury considered:

The green line is what Goldman actually paid: $1.1 billion. The yellow lines are Goldman’s earlier bids ($600 million and $900 million). The black bars are the range of estimates from three different modeling efforts. Bottom line: Goldman overpaid.

The report has similar graphs for the other 33 firms that have repurchased their warrants; some of them paid at the upper end of the black bars, but none overshot like Goldman.

Disclosure: I have no investments in Goldman Sachs (or any TARP recipients).

About Donald Marron 294 Articles

Donald Marron is an economist in the Washington, DC area. He currently speaks, writes, and consults about economic, budget, and financial issues.

From 2002 to early 2009, he served in various senior positions in the White House and Congress including: * Member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) * Acting Director of the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) * Executive Director of Congress’s Joint Economic Committee (JEC)

Before his government service, Donald had a varied career as a professor, consultant, and entrepreneur. In the mid-1990s, he taught economics and finance at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business. He then spent about a year-and-a-half managing large antitrust cases (e.g., Pepsi vs. Coke) at Charles River Associates in Washington, DC. After that, he took the plunge into the world of new ventures, serving as Chief Financial Officer of a health care software start-up in Austin, TX. After that fascinating experience, he started his career in public service.

Donald received his Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his B.A. in Mathematics a couple miles down the road at Harvard.

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