Lehman Brothers

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Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.
Fate Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
(Under Chapter 7 Rules)
Founded Montgomery, Alabama, United States (1850)
Founder(s) Henry Lehman
Emanuel Lehman
Mayer Lehman
Defunct New York City, New York, United States (2008)
Headquarters New York City, New York, United States
Area served Worldwide
Key people Richard S. Fuld, Jr.
Former(Chairman) & (CEO)[1]
Industry Investment services
Products Financial Services
Investment Banking
Investment management
Revenue US$59.003 Billion (2007)
Operating income US$6.013 Billion (2007)
Net income US$6.7 Billion (2008)
Total assets US$691.063 Billion (2007)
Total equity US$22.490 Billion (2007)
Employees 26,200 (2008)
Website Lehman.com

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. (Pink Sheets: LEHMQ, former NYSE ticker symbol LEH) (pronounced IPA: /ˈlɛm-ən/) was a global financial-services firm that, until declaring bankruptcy in 2008, did business in investment banking, equity and fixed-income sales, research and trading, investment management, private equity, and private banking. It was a primary dealer in the U.S. Treasury securities market. Its primary subsidiaries included Lehman Brothers Inc., Neuberger Berman Inc., Aurora Loan Services, Inc., SIB Mortgage Corporation, Lehman Brothers Bank, FSB, Eagle Energy Partners, and the Crossroads Group. The firm's worldwide headquarters were in New York City, with regional headquarters in London and Tokyo, as well as offices located throughout the world.

On September 15, 2008, the firm filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The filing marked the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.[2] The following day, the British bank Barclays announced its agreement to purchase, subject to regulatory approval, Lehman's North American investment-banking and trading divisions along with its New York headquarters building.[3][4] On September 20, 2008, a revised version of that agreement was approved by Judge James Peck.[5]

On September 22, 2008, Nomura Holdings announced that it had agreed to acquire Lehman Brothers' franchise in the Asia Pacific region, including Japan, Hong Kong and Australia.[6] The following day, Nomura announced its intention to acquire Lehman Brothers' investment banking and equities businesses in Europe and the Middle East. The deal became effective on Monday, 13 October.[7] In 2007, non-U.S. subsidiaries of Lehman Brothers were responsible for over 50% of global revenue produced.[8]

Lehman Brothers' Investment Management business, including Neuberger Berman, was sold to its management on December 3rd, 2008. Creditors of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. retain a 49% common equity interest in the firm, now known as Neuberger Investment Management.[9]


[edit] History

[edit] Under the Lehman family (1850–1969)

In 1844, 23-year-old Henry Lehman,[10] the son of a cattle merchant, emigrated to the United States from Rimpar, Bavaria.[11] He settled in Montgomery, Alabama,[10] where he opened a dry-goods store, "H. Lehman".[12] In 1847, following the arrival of his brother Emanuel Lehman, the firm became "H. Lehman and Bro." [13] With the arrival of their youngest brother, Mayer Lehman, in 1850, the firm changed its name again and "Lehman Brothers" was founded.[12][14]

In the 1850s Southern United States, cotton was one of the most important crops. Capitalizing on cotton's high market value, the three brothers began to routinely accept raw cotton from customers as payment for merchandise, eventually beginning a second business trading in cotton. Within a few years this business grew to become the most significant part of their operation. Following Henry's death from yellow fever in 1855,[12][15] the remaining brothers continued to focus on their commodities-trading/brokerage operations.

Emanuel and Mayer Lehman

By 1858, the center of cotton trading had shifted from the South to New York City, where factors and commission houses were based. Lehman opened its first branch office in New York City's Manhattan borough at 119 Liberty Street,[15] and 32-year-old Emanuel relocated there to run the office.[12] In 1862, facing difficulties as a result of the Civil War, the firm teamed up with a cotton merchant named John Durr to form Lehman, Durr & Co.[16][17] Following the war the company helped finance Alabama's reconstruction. The firm's headquarters were eventually moved to New York City, where it helped found the New York Cotton Exchange in 1870;[15][18] Emanuel sat on the Board of Governors until 1884. The firm also dealt in the emerging market for railroad bonds and entered the financial-advisory business.

Lehman became a member of the Coffee Exchange as early as 1883 and finally the New York Stock Exchange in 1887.[15][18] In 1899, it underwrote its first public offering, the preferred and common stock of the International Steam Pump Company.

Despite the offering of International Steam, the firm's real shift from being a commodities house to a house of issue did not begin until 1906. In that year, under Philip Lehman, the firm partnered with Goldman, Sachs & Co.,[19][20] to bring the General Cigar Co. to market,[21] followed closely by Sears, Roebuck and Company [21]. During the following two decades, almost one hundred new issues were underwritten by Lehman, many times in conjunction with Goldman, Sachs. Among these were F.W. Woolworth Company,[22][21] May Department Stores Company, Gimbel Brothers, Inc.,[23] R.H. Macy & Company,[23] The Studebaker Corporation,[22] the B.F. Goodrich Co. and Endicott Johnson Corporation.

Following Philip Lehman's retirement in 1925, his son Robert "Bobbie" Lehman took over as head of the firm. During Bobbie's tenure, the company weathered the capital crisis of the Great Depression by focusing on venture capital while the equities market recovered.

Traditionally, a family-only partnership, in 1924 John M. Hancock became the first non-family member to join the firm,[19][24] followed by Monroe C. Gutman and Paul Mazur in 1927. By 1928, the firm moved to its now famous One William Street location.

In the 1930s, Lehman underwrote the initial public offering of the first television manufacturer, DuMont, and helped fund the Radio Corporation of America (RCA).[25] It also helped finance the rapidly growing oil industry, including the companies Halliburton and Kerr-McGee.

Pete Peterson

In the 1950s, Lehman underwrote the IPO of Digital Equipment Corporation. Later, it arranged the acquisition of Digital by Compaq. Robert Lehman died in 1969,[26] and since that time, no member of the Lehman family has led the company. Robert's death left a void in the company, which, coupled with a difficult economic environment, brought hard times to the firm. In 1973, Pete Peterson, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Bell & Howell Corporation, was brought in to save the firm.[26]

[edit] Merger with American Express (1969–94)

Under Peterson's leadership as Chairman and CEO, the firm acquired Abraham & Co. in 1975, and two years later merged with the venerable, but struggling, Kuhn, Loeb & Co.,[26] to form Lehman Brothers, Kuhn, Loeb Inc., the country's fourth-largest investment bank, behind Salomon Brothers, Goldman Sachs and First Boston.[27] Peterson led the firm from significant operating losses to five consecutive years of record profits with a return on equity among the highest in the investment-banking industry.

Shearson Lehman/American Express Logo

However, hostilities between the firm's investment bankers and traders (who were driving most of the firm's profits) prompted Peterson to promote Lewis Glucksman, the firm's President, COO and former trader, to be his co-CEO in May 1983. Glucksman introduced a number of changes that had the effect of increasing tensions, which when coupled with Glucksman’s management style and a downturn in the markets, resulted in a power struggle that ousted Peterson and left Glucksman as the sole CEO.[28]

Upset bankers, who had soured over the power struggle, left the company. Steve Schwarzman, chairman of the firm's M&A committee, recalled in a February 2003 interview with Private Equity International that "Lehman Brothers had an extremely competitive internal environment, which ultimately became dysfunctional." The company suffered under the disintegration, and Glucksman was pressured into selling the firm to Shearson, an American Express-backed electronic transaction company, in 1984, for $360 million. On May 11, the combined firms became Shearson Lehman/American Express.[28] In 1988, Shearson Lehman/American Express and E.F. Hutton & Co. merged as Shearson Lehman Hutton Inc.[29]

From 1983 1990 Peter A Cohen was CEO and Chairman of Shearson Lehman Brothers[30], where he led the one billion dollar purchase of EF Hutton [31]

[edit] Divestment and independence (1994–2008)

In 1993, under newly appointed CEO, Harvey Golub, American Express began to divest itself of its banking and brokerage operations. It sold its retail brokerage and asset management operations to Primerica[32] and in 1994 it spun off Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb in an initial public offering, as Lehman Brothers Holdings, Inc.[33]

Despite rumors that it would be acquired again, Lehman performed quite well under CEO Richard S. Fuld, Jr.. In 2001, the firm acquired the private-client services, or "PCS", business of Cowen & Co.[34] and later, in 2003, aggressively re-entered the asset-management business, which it had exited in 1989.[35] Beginning with $2 billion in assets under management, the firm acquired the Crossroads Group, the fixed-income division of Lincoln Capital Management[35] and Neuberger Berman.[36] These businesses, together with the PCS business and Lehman's private-equity business, comprised the Investment Management Division, which generated approximately $3.1 billion in net revenue and almost $800 million in pre-tax income in 2007. Prior to going bankrupt, the firm had in excess of $275 billion in assets under management. Altogether, since going public in 1994, the firm had increased net revenues over 600% from $2.73 billion to $19.2 billion and had increased employee headcount over 230% from 8,500 to almost 28,600.

At the 2008 ALB China Law Awards[37], Lehman Brothers was crowned:

  • Deal of the Year - Debt Market Deal of the Year
  • Deal of the Year - Equity Market Deal of the Year

[edit] Response to September 11 terrorist attacks

The New York City headquarters.

On September 11, 2001, Lehman occupied three floors of One World Trade Center where one employee was killed. Its global headquarters in Three World Financial Center were severely damaged and rendered unusable by falling debris, displacing over 6,500 employees. The bank recovered quickly and rebuilt its presence. Trading operations moved across the Hudson River to its Jersey City, New Jersey, facilities, where an impromptu trading floor was built and brought online less than forty-eight hours after the attacks. When stock markets reopened on September 17, 2001, Lehman's sales and trading capabilities were restored.

In the ensuing months, the firm fanned out its operations across the New York City metropolitan area in over forty temporary locations. Notably, the investment-banking division converted the first-floor lounges, restaurants, and all 665 guestrooms of the Sheraton Manhattan Hotel into office space. The bank also experimented with flextime (to share office space) and telecommuting via virtual private networking. In October 2001, Lehman purchased a 32-story, 1,050,000-square-foot (98,000 m2) office building for a reported sum of $700 million. The building, located at 745 Seventh Avenue, had recently been built, and not yet occupied, by rival Morgan Stanley. With Morgan Stanley's world headquarters located only two blocks away at 1585 Broadway, in the wake of the attacks the firm was re-evaluating its office plans which would have put over 10,000 employees in the Times Square area of New York City. Lehman began moving into the new facility in January and finished in March 2002, a move that significantly boosted morale throughout the firm.

The firm was criticized for not moving back to its former headquarters in lower Manhattan. Following the attacks, only Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, and Merrill Lynch of the major firms remained in the downtown area. Lehman, however, points to the facts that it was committed to stay in New York City, that the new headquarters represented an ideal circumstance where the firm was desperate to buy and Morgan Stanley was desperate to sell, that when the new building was purchased, the structural integrity of Three World Financial Center had not yet been given a clean bill of health, and that in any case, the company could not have waited until May 2002 for repairs to Three World Financial Center to conclude.

After the attacks, Lehman's management placed increased emphasis on business continuity planning. Unlike its rivals, the company was unusually concentrated for a bulge-bracket investment bank. For example, Morgan Stanley maintains a 750,000-square-foot (70,000 m2) trading-and-banking facility in Westchester County, New York. The trading floor of UBS is located in Stamford, Connecticut. Merrill Lynch's asset-management division is located in Plainsboro Township, New Jersey. Aside from its headquarters in Three World Financial Center, Lehman maintained operations-and-backoffice facilities in Jersey City, space that the firm considered leaving prior to 9/11. The space was not only retained, but expanded, including the construction of a backup-trading facility. In addition, telecommuting technology first rolled out in the days following the attacks to allow employees to work from home was expanded and enhanced for general use throughout the firm.[38]

[edit] 2003 SEC litigation

In 2003, the company was one of ten firms which simultaneously entered into a settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Office of the New York State Attorney General and various other securities regulators, regarding undue influence over each firm's research analysts by their investment-banking divisions. Specifically, regulators alleged that the firms had improperly associated analyst compensation with the firms' investment-banking revenues, and promised favorable, market-moving research coverage, in exchange for underwriting opportunities. The settlement, known as the “global settlement”, provided for total financial penalties of $1.4 billion, including $80 million against Lehman, and structural reforms, including a complete separation of investment banking departments from research departments, no analyst compensation, directly or indirectly, from investment-banking revenues, and the provision of free, independent, third-party, research to the firms' clients.

[edit] Subprime mortgage crisis

In August 2007, the firm closed its subprime lender, BNC Mortgage, eliminating 1,200 positions in 23 locations, and took an after-tax charge of $25 million and a $27 million reduction in goodwill. Lehman said that poor market conditions in the mortgage space "necessitated a substantial reduction in its resources and capacity in the subprime space".[39]

In 2008, Lehman faced an unprecedented loss to the continuing subprime mortgage crisis. Lehman's loss was apparently a result of having held on to large positions in subprime and other lower-rated mortgage tranches when securitizing the underlying mortgages; whether Lehman did this because it was simply unable to sell the lower-rated bonds, or made a conscious decision to hold them, is unclear. In any event, huge losses accrued in lower-rated mortgage-backed securities throughout 2008. In the second fiscal quarter, Lehman reported losses of $2.8 billion and was forced to sell off $6 billion in assets.[40] In the first half of 2008 alone, Lehman stock lost 73% of its value as the credit market continued to tighten.[40] In August 2008, Lehman reported that it intended to release 6% of its work force, 1,500 people, just ahead of its third-quarter-reporting deadline in September.[40]

On August 22, 2008, shares in Lehman closed up 5% (16% for the week) on reports that the state-controlled Korea Development Bank was considering buying the bank.[41] Most of those gains were quickly eroded as news came in that Korea Development Bank was "facing difficulties pleasing regulators and attracting partners for the deal."[42] It culminated on September 9, when Lehman's shares plunged 45% to $7.79, after it was reported that the state-run South Korean firm had put talks on hold.[43]

On September 17, 2008 Swiss Re estimates its overall net exposure to Lehman Brothers as approximately CHF 50 million.[44]

Investor confidence continued to erode as Lehman's stock lost roughly half its value and pushed the S&P 500 down 3.4% on September 9. The Dow Jones lost 300 points the same day on investors' concerns about the security of the bank.[45] The U.S. government did not announce any plans to assist with any possible financial crisis that emerged at Lehman.[46]

The next day, Lehman announced a loss of $3.9 billion and their intent to sell off a majority stake in their investment-management business, which includes Neuberger Berman.[47][48] The stock slid seven percent that day.[48][49] Lehman, after earlier rejecting questions on the sale of the company, was reportedly searching for a buyer as its stock price dropped another 40 percent on September 11, 2008.[49]

Just before the collapse of Lehman Brothers, executives at Neuberger Berman sent e-mail memos suggesting, among other things, that the Lehman Brothers' top people forgo multi-million dollar bonuses to "send a strong message to both employees and investors that management is not shirking accountability for recent performance."[50]

Lehman Brothers Investment Management Director George Herbert Walker IV dismissed the proposal, going so far as to actually apologize to other members of the Lehman Brothers executive committee for the idea of bonus reduction having been suggested. He wrote, "Sorry team. I am not sure what's in the water at Neuberger Berman. I'm embarrassed and I apologize."[51]

[edit] Bankruptcy

On Saturday September 13, 2008, Timothy F. Geithner, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York called a meeting on the future of Lehman, which included the possibility of an emergency liquidation of its assets.[52] Lehman reported that it had been in talks with Bank of America and Barclays for the company's possible sale. However, both Barclays and Bank of America ultimately declined to purchase the entire company.[52][53]

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) offered an exceptional trading session on Sunday, September 14, 2008, to allow market participants to offset positions in various derivatives on the condition of a Lehman bankruptcy later that day.[54][55] Although the bankruptcy filing missed the deadline, many dealers honored the trades they made in the special session.[56]

Lehman Brothers headquarters in New York City on September 15, 2008

In New York, shortly before 1 a.m. the next morning, Lehman Brothers Holdings announced it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection[57] citing bank debt of $613 billion, $155 billion in bond debt, and assets worth $639 billion.[58] It further announced that its subsidiaries will continue to operate as normal.[59] A group of Wall Street firms agreed to provide capital and financial assistance for the bank's orderly liquidation and the Federal Reserve, in turn, agreed to a swap of lower-quality assets in exchange for loans and other assistance from the government.[60]

The morning of September 15 witnessed scenes of Lehman employees removing files, items with the company logo, and other belongings from the world headquarters at 745 Seventh Avenue. The spectacle continued throughout the day and into the following day.

Lehman's bankruptcy is the largest failure of an investment bank since Drexel Burnham Lambert collapsed amid fraud allegations 18 years prior.[60] Later that day, the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) suspended Lehman's Australian subsidiary as a market participant after clearing-houses terminated their contracts with the firm.[61]

Lehman shares tumbled over 90% on September 15, 2008.[62][63] The Dow Jones closed down just over 500 points on September 15, 2008, which was at the time the largest drop in a single day since the days following the attacks on September 11, 2001.[64]

In the United Kingdom, the investment bank went into administration with PricewaterhouseCoopers appointed as administrators.[65] In Japan, the Japanese branch, Lehman Brothers Japan Inc., and its holding company filed for civil reorganization on September 16, 2008, in Tokyo District Court.[66]

On Tuesday, September 16, 2008, Barclays plc announced that they will acquire a "stripped clean" portion of Lehman for $1.75 billion, including most of Lehman's North America operations.[67][3] On September 20, this transaction was approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge James Peck[68][69] On September 17, 2008, the New York Stock Exchange delisted Lehman Brothers.[70]

On September 17, 2008, Paul Brough, Edward Middleton and Patrick Cowley of KPMG China become the provisional liquidators appointed over Lehman's two Hong Kong based units - Lehman Brothers Securities Asia Limited and Lehman Brothers Futures Asia Limited.[71] They are also appointed as the provisional liquidators for three further Hong Kong based Lehman Brothers companies, Lehman Brothers Asia Holdings Limited, Lehman Brothers Asia Limited and Lehman Brothers Commercial Corporation Asia Limited on 18 September 2008.[72]

Nomura Holdings, Japan's top brokerage firm, agreed to buy the Asian division of Lehman Brothers for $225 million and parts of the European division for a nominal fee of $2.[73][74] It would not take on any trading assets or liabilities in the European units. Nomura negotiated such a low price because it will acquire only Lehman's employees in the regions, and not its stocks, bonds or other assets. The last Lehman Brothers Annual Report identified that these non-US subsidiaries of Lehman Brothers were responsible for over 50% of global revenue produced.[8]

[edit] Liquidation via bankruptcy court

On September 20, 2008, a revised version of the deal, a $1.35 billion (£700 million) plan for Barclays to acquire the core business of Lehman (mainly its $960-million headquarters, a 38-story office building[75] in Midtown Manhattan, with responsibility for 9,000 former employees), was approved. Manhattan court bankruptcy Judge James Peck, after a 7-hour hearing, ruled: "I have to approve this transaction because it is the only available transaction. Lehman Brothers became a victim, in effect the only true icon to fall in a tsunami that has befallen the credit markets. This is the most momentous bankruptcy hearing I've ever sat through. It can never be deemed precedent for future cases. It's hard for me to imagine a similar emergency."[76]

Luc Despins, of the creditors committee counsel, said: "The reason we're not objecting is really based on the lack of a viable alternative. We did not support the transaction because there had not been enough time to properly review it." In the amended agreement, Barclays would absorb $47.4 billion in securities and assume $45.5 billion in trading liabilities. Lehman's attorney Harvey R. Miller of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, said "the purchase price for the real estate components of the deal would be $1.29 billion, including $960 million for Lehman's New York headquarters and $330 million for two New Jersey data centers. Lehman's original estimate valued its headquarters at $1.02 billion but an appraisal from CB Richard Ellis this week valued it at $900 million." Further, Barclays will not acquire Lehman's Eagle Energy unit, but will have entities known as Lehman Brothers Canada Inc, Lehman Brothers Sudamerica, Lehman Brothers Uruguay and its Private Investment Management business for high net-worth individuals. Finally, Lehman will retain $20 billion of securities assets in Lehman Brothers Inc that are not being transferred to Barclays.[77] Barclays acquired a potential liability of $2.5 billion to be paid as severance, if it chooses not to retain some Lehman employees beyond the guaranteed 90 days.[78][79]

On September 29, 2008, Lehman agreed to sell Neuberger Berman to a pair of private-equity firms, Bain Capital Partners and Hellman & Friedman, for $2.15 billion.[80] The transaction was expected to close in early 2009, subject to approval by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court,[81] however, a competing bid was entered by the firm's management, who ultimately prevailed in a bankruptcy auction, held on December 3rd, which scuttled the deal with Bain and Hellman.[9]

The fall of Lehman, has also had a strong effect on small private investors such as bond holders and holders of so called mini-bonds. In Germany structured products often based on an index were sold mostly to private investors, elder retired persons, students and families. Most of those now worthless derivatives were sold by the German arm of Citigroup, the German Citibank now owned by Credit Mutuel.

[edit] Financial fallout

Immediately following the bankruptcy filing, an already unstable market began an uncontrollable tailspin. What resulted was what many have called the “perfect storm” of economic distress factors, from Wall Street layoffs to a spike in "durvexity"[citation needed], and eventually led a $700B bailout package (Troubled Asset Relief Program) prepared by Henry Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury, and approved by Congress.

[edit] Board of Directors

[edit] Former Officers

Richard S. Fuld, Jr. Tom Russo Scott J. Freidheim Bart McDade Joe Gregory Ion Lowitt Jessie Bhattal Jeremy Isaacs Skip McGee George Walker

[edit] See also

Scott J. Freidheim, former Chief Administrative Officer subsequently took a job for Sears Hodling Corporation

[edit] Principal locations (first year of occupancy)

* Henry Lehman established his first store location on Commerce Street, in Montgomery, in 1845. In 1848, one year after Emanuel's arrival, the brothers moved "H. Lehman & Bro." to 17 Court Square, where it remained when Mayer arrived in 1850, forming "Lehman Brothers".
** Designated as a landmark by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Committee in 1996.
*** Sales and trading personnel had been in this location since 1977, when they were joined by the firm's investment bankers and brokers.

[edit] References


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[edit] Further reading

  • Auletta, Ken. Greed and Glory on Wall Street: The Fall of the House of Lehman. Random House, 1985
  • Bernhard, William, L., Birge, June Rossbach Bingham, Loeb, John L., Jr.. Lots of Lehmans - The Family of Mayer Lehman of Lehman Brothers, Remembered by His Descendants. Center For Jewish History, 2007
  • Birmingham, Stephen. Our Crowd - The Great Jewish Families of New York. Harper and Row, 1967.
  • Geisst, Charles R. The Last Partnerships. McGraw-Hill, 1997
  • Shirkhedkar, Jayant. Saving Lehman, One person at a time. McGraw-Hill, 2007
  • Lehman Brothers. A Centennial - Lehman Brothers 1850 - 1950. Spiral Press, 1950
  • Schack, Justin. (May 2005). "Restoring the House of Lehman". Institutional Investor, p. 24-32.
  • Wechsberg, Joseph. The Merchant Bankers. Pocket Books, 1968

[edit] External links

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