Too little, too late: Enron shareholders recover $7.2 billion

Sure, $7.2 billion sounds like a lot of money. And to me, it is a lot of money. But to the people who lost their savings and their retirement, it's not so much. Enron was once worth $68 billion to its shareholders, so at just over 10% of that amount, $7.2 billion will do little for those left holding worthless shares of stock.

To be eligible for part of the settlement, the shareholders had to have purchased stock between Sept. 9, 1997 and Dec. 2, 2001. It's estimated that there will be 1.5 million investors who will get part of the settlement, and they will receive an average of $6.79 per share of common stock (a stock which once was worth over $90 a share). All funds should be distributed by the end of the year.

The settlement is being funded mostly by JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which were accused of participating in the accounting shenanigans that led to the collapse of Enron. This is the largest settlement ever in a securities case, now surpassing the WorldCom settlement of $6.1 billion which was a record at the time. But I'm sure it's no consolation to those whose retirement accounts were wiped out.