The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Monday, June 03, 2002  

Former Merrill Lynch Analyst
Preparing to Define an Era . . . Again

Henry Blodget is alive and well and living in New York, according to Fortune magazine’s Devin Leonard in a piece entitled “Blodget in Exile.”

Blodget, a former equity research analyst at Merrill Lynch & Co., grew famous -- and infamous -- for riding both sides of the Internet wave. Through seemingly constant appearances on CNBC and quotes in the pages of The Wall Street Journal, Blodget helped propel the stocks of low-concept fly-by-nights to stratospheric levels. And he continued to talk up the house’s stocks as they deflated, many to single-digit territory and some eventually into bankruptcy.

Blodget left Merrill Lynch in December 2001, but his name remains synonymous both with the firm (or at least its late 1990s excesses) and with the Internet craze itself. But Blodget’s past haunts him. Accused of publicly promoting stocks that he disparaging in private, Blodget won for himself the special ire of New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and an inquiry by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and became the focus of class action lawsuits filed by disgruntled Merrill Lynch clients.

The former analyst’s legal problems prevent him from talking with reporters: “The only time Blodget makes a public statement these days is when he gives a deposition,” writes Leonard. But those who know Blodget say he doesn’t appear to be particularly worried, is looking fit, living a more relaxed lifestyle, and writing a book -- his second, as it turns out.

Blodget’s editor, Jonathan Karp, says the book is about “coming of age in New York.” Karp has set his sites high: “It's our hope that this book will define an era, as other literary memoirs have done.”

Karp may be engaging in hyperbole, but then again, maybe not. It turns out Blodget long has had literary aspirations. He began his career with various low-level editorial positions and even traveled in literary circles (or at least sort of: Elizabeth Wurtzel, Larissa MacFarquhar). And Blodget wrote a book in the early 1990s, though it was never published. Unfortunately, Leonard doesn’t reveal what the book was about, or if it was any good.

Karp, who last we checked was a senior editor at Random House, could be just the man to help Blodget pull this off. Karp edited Kara Swisher’s outstanding work,, as well as Susan Orlean’s The Orchid Thief and Faith of My Fathers by John McCain.

Blodget as Jack Kerouac. Who knew?

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