The new offer, while higher, was 88 percent below the stock's value a month ago, wiping out what was for many the bulk of their personal wealth.
The mood is "very quiet, depressing. People are resigned to it," one Bear employee, who has been at the company more than three years, said during a cigarette break outside the company's headquarters in midtown Manhattan, which JPMorgan has secured the rights to buy at a discount even if the deal fails.
Prompted in part by protests from shareholders and employees, JPMorgan on Monday raised its offer for Bear, which last year traded for more than $170 a share, to about $10 a share in stock after its original offer of about $2 a share.
The low initial offer also raised the prospects of a drawn out fight that could have scared away Bear customers.
Aiming to seal the takeover, JPMorgan also struck a deal to buy 95 million new Bear shares -- equivalent to a 39.5 percent stake -- and Bear's board members agreed to vote their 3.6 percent holdings in favor of the deal.
The revised offer values Bear, which recently ranked as the fifth-largest US investment bank, at about $2.1 billion, compared to $236 million under the original deal.
Bear employees, who owned more than 30 percent of the firm's stock before JPMorgan's share purchase deal, have collectively lost more than $3 billion over the last month.
They also now face massive layoffs, with media reports saying that JPMorgan will cut up to 50 percent of Bear's 14,000 workers.
Bear employees declined to identify themselves because they're not authorized to speak with the press and could be punished.
"It's devastating. I thought I was going to work here my whole life," said one young Bear staffer, who joined the company last year. "There's so many good people at this firm and to watch it go from its height to this is terrible."
JPMorgan's new offer is "nothing. I bet it was planned from the beginning," he said, expressing the bitterness and distrust that courses through the hallways at the 85-year-old investment bank.
Bear could have faced bankruptcy if JPMorgan did not offer to acquire it, and that could have left Bear employees and shareholders empty-handed.