Lehman Brothers, the fourth largest investment bank in the entire Universe, has filed for bankruptcy protection, tossing a spanner into the capricious works of the galactic financial system.
The news led to sharp falls in share prices across the Cosmos, propagating a ripple effect of devastating chaos, with the Coma Berenices star system disappearing into a Black Hole the size of Jade Goody's vagina.
Three of the Galaxy's top five investment banks have now fallen victim to the credit crunch in the last year, with Bear Sterns being sold to JP Morgan for a knockdown price of US$15 in March.
The ailing Merrill Lynch financial conglomerate is to be gobbled up by Bank of America for a rumoured US$23 worth of Wal-Mart discount vouchers and a second-hand lawn mower in a deal that will create the largest financial services company this side of the Andromeda system.
Lehman Brothers, which employs over 250,000 staff in our solar system alone, including 350 at the Lunar Stock Exchange, was founded in 1850, in Montgomery, Alabama by three German immigrant brothers, Beaky, Squeaky and Gwendolyn (the odd one out).
Scions of the prestigious Bavarian Lehman family, famous throughout Europe for their big noses and producing the finest quality clockwork hedgehogs, the brothers established the first Montgomery trading post and quickly cornered the market in such vital commodities as pigs' bladders, goldfish bowls, weather balloons and broken glass.
Following providential military supply contracts to both the Union and Confederate states during the Civil War conflict, the brothers invested the hard cash and gold bullion they had amassed from war profiteering to form their own financial services corporation and exploit the secret nuances of fractional reserve banking to create money out of sweet fuck all.
With declared total assets of US$690 billion in 2007, one might be tempted to take a wise step back and inquire "Where the fuck's the money gone?"
However, blame has been squarely cast on the shoulders of the sub prime crisis and ensuing credit crunch, with losses being further attributed to hard-pushed house owners struggling to pay their mortgages and still be able to afford to run a couple of cars, keep a mistress and have annual vacations in exotic resorts.
Here on Earth, premier bean-counters PricewaterhouseCoopers have been appointed as administrators for Lehman Brothers, taking up the daunting task of sorting shit from shinola.
A spokesman for PwC informed theSpoof.com it intended to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Lehman's behalf, which will allow the company time to shred any and all documents that might incriminate company officers for corruption or malfeasance and formulate a golden parachute deal for directors to ensure they can retire in style, with their perquisite performance bonuses intact.
As for the common man-in-the-street investor and hapless creditors of Lehman Brothers, er, tough shit.