I was among the first wave of 17,000 Citigroup employees to get downsized back in 2007, when the firm’s problems first began to surface. Perhaps surprisingly to some, getting rid of me didn’t get rid of their problems. It’s never fun to get the ax (although I have to admit, I did enjoy the extra quality time with my kids), so I have a bit of sangfroid about Citi’s imminent demise. That is offset, however, by seeing the hundreds of ESOP shares I bought when the stock was trading north of $50, now worth less than $4.
Even more irritating is the certain knowledge that the bailout is proving to be the big fat waste of taxpayer money many of predicted it would be. Citigroup received a $25 billion injection from the Treasury just last month. Its total market capitalization is now $20.19 billion. Do the math. And that market cap figure is based on last night’s closing price of $4.71. With 90 minutes to go in today’s trading, it’s down another buck at $3.70. Odds are this weekend will see its collapse, acquisition or — worst of all so probably most likely — government takeover.