Customers of bankrupt U.S. brokerage firm MF Global, who have yet to receive their money, are receiving bids from global investment banks for their claims, according to a published report.
Since the Oct. 31, 2011, collapse of the New York firm, which resulted in the abrupt departure of CEO Jon Corzine, about $1.6 billion of customers' money has gone missing.
But now a virtual bidding war, the New York Times reported Tuesday, has erupted among Barclays Capital, the Royal Bank of Scotland and Seaport Group, which specializes in distressed properties, among others.
Deutsche Bank has been offering 89 percent and on Monday Barclays offered to buy most claims for 90 percent of their face value, the Times said. RBS then offered 91 percent for institutional claims and Seaport aims to best the RBS claims. The bidders intend to sell the claims rather than keep them on their books.
MF Global had bet heavily on European sovereign debt was subsequently downgraded by ratings agencies and then faced a flood of redemptions. Customers eventually received 72 percent of their holdings, and some 25,000 MF Global customers filed claims for the lost funds with MF Global's court-appointed trustee James W. Giddens.
Customers can decline the offers and wait for the much slower, and potentially less lucrative, legal process to be resolved.
The location of the missing $1.6 billion has yet to be determined, or at least revealed publicly.