Creditors are lining up around what’s left of WaMu (WM), and Microsoft (MSFT) is joining the scrum. The software giant has filed legal papers indicating it wishes to stay abreast of happenings in WaMu’s case as the failed bank works its way through bankruptcy hearings.
Microsoft isn’t saying why. Maybe the company is another angry WaMu creditor. But another possibility — Microsoft covets the Washington Mutual Tower, prime office space in downtown Seattle. It wouldn’t be the only case in recent days a failed financial institution’s buildings became the subject of a scramble. When Barclays (BCS) took over Lehman’s (LEH) North American operations for $1.75 billion, as much as $1.5 billion of the deal was for Lehman’s offices.
UPDATE: Benjamin J. Romano of the Seattle Times got comment from Microsoft that the company is just another creditor.
Update, 10:05 a.m.: A source familiar with WaMu’s IT management tells me WaMu had negotiated an enterprise software agreement with Microsoft worth nearly $40 million in 2007 to be paid over three years. The company probably just wants to get paid. A bit more interesting: The source says WaMu and Microsoft worked closely on new technologies, meaning some intellectual property could be in play, too.)
Update, 10:23 a.m.: Microsoft spokesman David Bowermaster responded with this statement: “We filed a notice of appearance because we have existing contracts for software licenses and consulting services with Washington Mutual and we want to make sure those contracts are properly administered through the bankruptcy process.”