The British banking concern Barclays hopes to sell the unit, valued at around $5 billion, by Tuesday in order to pay for government insurance that would cover its portfolio of toxic assets, the story said.
Given the fire-sale pressure on Barclays, Hellman might be expected to press for a bargain. With the world financial system in ruins, Hellman's been in full-on vulture capitalist mode, bidding recently for an asset management unit of collapsed financial services firm Lehman Brothers.
If his iShares bid turns up clover, Hellman, a bluegrass musician on the side, might create a twist on the legend associated with Roman emperor Nero, who reputedly fiddled while the city burned. In Hellman's case, the world financial system has burned so that our local impresario-king might bankroll a three-day round of fiddling.