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European Super League: JPMorgan bankers’ baffling misjudgment

Jim Armitage
·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

FOR JPMorgan, this spring has been somewhat like the weather.

As far as deals and profits go, it’s been gloriously sunny. But there’s an Arctic chill blowing around its reputation.

First came its involvement, along with Goldman Sachs, in pricing the Deliveroo IPO wildly high. Deliveroo customers and others who bought into that turkey are now down 41%.

Then came its involvement in underwriting the spectacularly flawed European Super League plan.

JPMorgan provided a debt package of €3.5 billion to get the show on the road.

While you can understand the pull of the dollar signs in fees and associated profits from the thing, quite how an investment bank with a huge London presence can have thought this would be anything but a reputational disaster is a mystery.

Would the late, great Cazenove (now absorbed into JP) have made such an error? Surely not.

Perhaps this was a deal led by its bankers on Wall Street, working with American football club investors who simply don’t have a clue about “soccer” and who didn’t ask their colleagues on this side of the Pond.

Either that, or London bankers agreed with the plan, which is utterly bizarre.

Perhaps more troubling for Jamie Dimon, the bank’s CEO, is how the failure looks for his vaunted efforts to be a force for good in communities.

The only good the “JPMorgan Cup” did for communities was to unite them in opposition.

Today, the bank admitted it had made a misjudgment and declared it would learn from it.

Will that be enough to sate the anger of Europe’s footie world? I fear not.

A better course would have been a grovelling apology a la Liverpool owner John W Henry.

When you need to say sorry after getting things this wrong, it’s like raising money for clients in a crisis (something JP is really good at): go big, and go early.

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