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In Answer to your question,
1. If that is the way that the title report reads, then the true owner is JP Morgan Chase as successor in interest and assignee of the interests of Bear Stearns by virtue of the purchase by JP Morgan Chase; Citibank, N.A. is holding it only as Trustee and for the benefit of the true owner.
You stated that the title report was current, but you did not state how current. If it is a few weeks old or even a few months old, then it is inaccurate, and the title should include the language I have included in Bold Type:
"CITIBANK, N.A. AS TRUSTEE FOR JP Morgan Chase, successor in interest and assignee of all the right, title, and interest of BEAR-STEARNS ALT-A TRUST II, MORTGAGE PASS-THROUGH
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As to how and why this happened and how the purchase was accomplished -
2. JP Morgan Chase bought Bear Stearns in March, 2008 for $236 million which amounts to about $2.00 per share. This is extremely low considering that the Friday before the purchase, Bear Stearn's stock was trading at $30 per share. You get an even better persepective as to how low the purchase price was if you consider that the building alone in which the company's headquarters were located in New York was valued at $1 billion.
The Federal Reserve stepped in and negotiated the price of $2.00 and induced JP Morgan Chase to buy Bear Stearns by extending to it a $30 Billion line of credit. As to why they had to be bought out, there were many rumors that Bear Stearns had suffered significant losses in the mortgage industry and had major liquidity problems making bankruptcy imminent. Bear Stearns not only held its own assets, but acted as a "middleman" for billions of dollars in transactions. Additionally, it held billions of dollars in retirement funds for others and if the Federal Reserve had allowed Bear Stearns to file bankruptcy, these funds would be tied up for years. The Federal Reserve also feared that if a giant firm such as Bear Stearns filed bankruptcy, it might have caused a run on other smaller securities and brokerage firms and banks, causing the financial market to crash.
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