Lehman Unit Sale Could Yet Unravel

Bloomberg reports that the intended purchase of Lehman funds unit Neuberger Berman by Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman for $2.15bn could yet unravel.

According to the news agency, the deal price is conditional on an average S&P 500 closing price of more than 902 for the 10 trading days before the sale closes. The average for the last 10 days (to Friday) is 844. Unless the S&P rallies in December, the private equity firms could put in a lower bid for the unit, perhaps as low as $900m. Bain and Hellman & Friedman could, of course, simply waive the condition, but they could also use it as an excuse to walk away from the deal altogether. There is still a possibility, however, that a rival bidder could step forward and trigger a court-supervised auction. Carlyle Group is thought to remain interested in the Lehman unit.

Reuters reports that Goldman Sachs has now won a charter from New York State's banking department for its Goldman Sachs Bank, which will be based in New York City. Unlike rival Morgan Stanley, Goldman has gone for a local, rather than a national charter, suggesting that the firm will remain focused on investment banking activities and not attempt to build a national retail banking network.

The news agency also reports that JPMorgan is to stop trading equities in Pakistan. The firm said that it will continue to expand its treasury services in the country, and keep its seat on the Karachi stock exchange, but is reducing its position in equities.

The Observer reports that John Duffield is expected to announce a 'big plan' for New Star Asset Management, the firm he founded in 2000. According to the newspaper, there is a possibility that a chunk of the business could be sold to a Middle Eastern investor. The firm's share price has fallen from its 2005 float price of 225p a share to 14p.

Finally, Bloomberg reports that, according to two unnamed 'people familiar with the situation', London Diversified Management Limited has halted investor withdrawals after its two hedge funds have posted losses of between 25% and 29% this year.

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