That about sums up the events of this past weekend, which saw the following events transpire:
- After failing to finagle a government bailout, Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH ) filed for bankruptcy protection.
- Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) spurned Lehman Brothers and instead agreed to acquire Merrill Lynch (NYSE: MER ) .
- Insurer AIG (NYSE: AIG ) begged the Federal Reserve for as much as $40 billion of assistance.
This is bigger than either JPMorgan Chase's (NYSE: JPM ) buyout of Bear Stearns or the government bailout of Fannie Mae (NYSE: FNM ) and Freddie Mac (NYSE: FRE ) . Our colleague Bill Mann, in fact, has deemed this weekend's credit-crunch-inspired string of bailouts, buyouts, and bankruptcies "the biggest financial story of the past half century."
Bigger than the dot-com bust? Yep. Bigger than Black Monday in 1987? Yep. Bigger than the oil shock of the 1970s? Mmmhmm.
NYU economics professor Nouriel Roubini, George Soros, and the International Monetary Fund have all called the overall credit crisis the worst since the Great Depression.
Are you nervous yet?
As always, Fools, stay calm. The price of panic is high.
We've been through many financial crises together over the years, and we'll get through this one. As Bill told us, mark this down as an "accidental victory for capitalism." There's some cleansing going on in the markets. The dust will settle eventually. We don't know when, or who the next headline-maker will be.
We do know that Fools need to keep their patience and their sense of perspective. We'll be monitoring the news and providing our analysis on an ongoing basis. You can review all of our coverage of this climactic weekend below. Be sure to bookmark this page and come back for all the latest from Fool.com
First, some perspective from Bill Mann and our advisors
The U.S. government's intervention
AIG's government bailout
Lehman Brothers' bankruptcy
What this means for your finances
The next companies to fail?
The Merrill Lynch/Bank of America deal
Neither Anand Chokkavelu nor Brian Richards owns shares of any company mentioned. JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are Motley Fool Income Investor recommendations. The Fool has a disclosure policy.