03/09/2012 08:51 am ET

Goldman Sachs Not Harmed By Conflict Of Interest In Kinder Morgan, El Paso Deal

Right after a Delaware state judge issued his ruling last week in a shareholder lawsuit contesting Kinder Morgan Inc.’s purchase of El Paso Corp. (EP), the public finger-wagging aimed at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) began.
Goldman, some pundits wrote, had emerged as the biggest loser of the bunch. The bank’s conflicts of interest in advising El Paso on the deal had been castigated by an esteemed jurist as breathtakingly over the top. Once again, Goldman had sullied its precious reputation. And so on, critics said.

While it’s always fun to fantasize about Goldman losing at anything, one gnawing question stands out: What exactly did the company lose? The answer is nothing, as far as I can tell. Actually, it won big.

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