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A Twist In Lehman's Saga

发布者: chrislau2001 | 发布时间: 2008-8-19 17:50| 查看数: 1607| 评论数: 1|

At some point, the Lehman Brothers saga will end.

But investors shouldn't bank on that ending being happy, judging by recent developments. Those include reports Lehman is planning to sell large amounts of assets, including a piece of Neuberger Berman.

Talk that Lehman is looking to sell a chunk its much-prized asset-management business as well as large amounts of commercial mortgage-related assets, has intensified in the past few days.

The positive view on the putative deals is that management is taking bold steps to put Lehman's balance sheet on a sure footing. Discarding large amounts of problem mortgages may mean taking losses on those assets, but they will cease to poison investors' perceptions of the company.

And while selling a big slice of Neuberger would reduce access to a stable revenue stream -- and undermine Lehman's diversification strategy -- it also could bring in billions of dollars in fresh cash. Bernstein Research values Lehman's asset-management business at $7 billion.

The less charitable view: Lehman's fiscal third quarter, which closes at the end of this month, has turned ugly and the bank is racing to get deals done before the period ends. Once again, Lehman's management has been caught flat-footed by the severity of the credit crunch, pessimists might say. The fact that Lehman is considering selling a piece of Neuberger could be bad news. Two weeks ago, some analysts thought such a deal wouldn't be necessary.

Merrill Lynch's Guy Moszkowski said a Neuberger sale was unlikely, because he felt Lehman's capital levels were high enough to absorb projected losses from write-downs. Even if capital weren't sufficient, he still thought a sale unlikely because Lehman needs Neuberger's revenue stream to retain the favor of ratings agencies and creditors.

Developments within Neuberger also could be forcing Lehman management's hand. Top level Neuberger employees -- having seen much of their wealth wiped out by Lehman's plunging share price and fed up with their healthy firm being overshadowed by a sick parent -- may want an outside firm to take a large stake.

Lehman, led by Chairman and Chief Executive Richard S. Fuld Jr., also will have been hurt by more pain in mortgage world. The performance of commercial mortgages has deteriorated significantly since the end of May. Lehman held $39.8 billion of commercial real-estate-related assets at the end of that month.

As the commercial market continues to slump, it makes life difficult for Lehman in two ways. It increases the size of any write-downs, after adjusting for hedging gains, and it makes for a much tougher selling environment.

Potential buyers could be treating Lehman as a distressed seller and demanding prices that are too low for management to stomach. That might motivate Lehman to try holding off for better prices.

But mortgage prices could fall further. Lehman faces an unenviable choice: It would be a sign of weakness if Lehman ends up selling large amounts of assets under pressure. But doing nothing would only prolong the firm's misery.

最新评论

chrislau2001 发表于 2008-8-19 17:50:54

卖不卖? 雷曼兄弟处境两难



曼兄弟(Lehman Brothers)的传奇终有一日会结束。

但从近期的情况看,投资者别指望会有个皆大欢喜的结局。有报导称,雷曼兄弟正计划出售规模庞大的资产,包括Neuberger Berman的一部分。

市场一直传言雷曼兄弟打算出售颇具价值的资产管理业务以及数目巨大的商业抵押贷款相关资产。过去几日,此类流言更加甚嚣尘上。

从积极的方面看,这些潜在交易是雷曼兄弟管理层为稳定公司资产负债表所采取的果断举措。剥离规模庞大的问题抵押贷款固然意味着在这些资产上遭受损失,但换个角度看,这也避免了投资者因这些问题资产而对雷曼兄弟进一步丧失信心。

此外,尽管出售Neuberger大量资产可能会使雷曼兄弟减少稳定的收入来源,同时使该行的业务多元化策略遭受打击,但这一交易也可以给它带来数十亿美元的现金。Bernstein Research对雷曼兄弟这一资产管理业务的估价为70亿美元。

理智地看:雷曼兄弟第三财季本月底就将结束,当季业绩已经惨不忍睹,该行正抓紧时间在月底前达成上述交易。悲观主义者可能会说,雷曼兄弟管理层再一次被信贷紧缩的严重性搞得措手不及。该公司正考虑出售部分Neuberger资产的消息可能是个坏消息。两周之前,一些分析师还认为这一交易是不必要的。

美林公司(Merrill Lynch)的莫兹可夫斯基(Guy Moszkowski)表示,雷曼兄弟不太可能出售Neuberger,因为他认为雷曼兄弟拥有充足的资本金,足以承受资产冲销的预期损失。即便资本金不够,他也不认为雷曼兄弟会出此下策,因为雷曼兄弟需要Neuberger的收入流才能继续获得评级机构和债权人的青睐。

来自Neuberger内部的压力也可能迫使雷曼兄弟管理层推进出售交易。Neuberger的高层员工可能希望外部机构收购这家公司的一大笔股权。随着雷曼兄弟股价的暴跌,这些员工的诸多财富也化为了泡影;另一方面他们也不希望自己状况稳定的公司笼罩在母公司困难重重的阴影之下。

与此同时,在董事长兼首席执行长理查德·福尔德(Richard S. Fuld Jr.)领导下的雷曼兄弟,还将会在按揭业务方面曝出更多损失。自5月底以来,商业抵押贷款市场的状况已经显著恶化。截至5月底,雷曼兄弟共持有398亿美元的商业地产相关资产。

随着商业按揭市场继续大幅下挫,雷曼兄弟的日子也越来越不好过。一方面,这提高了经对冲收益调整后的资产冲销规模;另一方面,这种状况也加大了出售资产的难度。

潜在的买家可能会将雷曼兄弟视为陷入困境的苦主,借机报出后者难以接受的低价。这可能会促使雷曼兄弟挺一段时间,以等待更好的价格。

但抵押贷款的价格却可能进一步下挫。雷曼兄弟面临着一个两难的处境:如果迫于压力出售大笔资产,可能会被市场视为羸弱的信号;但如果继续犹豫不决,可能只会延长公司面临的困境。
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