It is, declares the New York Times, one of the most dramatic days in the history of Wall Street.
Lehman Brothers, which was founded in 1850 and has risen to become the fourth largest investment bank in the US, this morning filed for bankruptcy protection after frantic weekend negotiations to find a rescue deal fell apart.
The collapse, says the Guardian, will put tens of thousands of jobs at risk around the world, including 3,000 in the City alone. The announcement, at 5.30am BST, is likely to catapult the financial markets into turmoil today. According to the Independent, the development is the "crescendo of the year-long credit crisis".
"Like the passing of the dinosaurs, the great beasts of Wall Street are dying off, extinguished by what is now unambiguously, the worst financial crisis since the great depression," writes Jeremy Warner.
Lehmann had been immersed in talks with potential buyers until late last night, but the death knell sounded when Barclays pulled out negotiations.
At the same time, in another hugely significant move, Merrill Lynch has been taken over by Bank of America for $50bn in an effort to protect itself from the same fate.
The NYT says it "marks the latest chapter in a tumultuous year in which once proud financial institutions have been brought to their knees as a result of hundreds of billions of dollars in losses because of bad mortgage finance and real estate investments".
NYT: After Franatic Day, Wall Street Banks Falter
Independent: Marks Turmoil as Lehman hits rocks
Guardian: Banking crisis: Lehman Brothers files for bancrupty protection