The short-financial trade is tired, but maybe not dead yet. Today’s Financial Times reports that Lehman Brothers (NYSE: LEH) is trying to sell pieces of itself to foreign investors before having to report another US$3 billion loss in early September.
Lehman Brothers has already reported nearly US$12 billion in losses since the onset of the credit nightmare. Its stock has fallen by 85%. And the FT reports that talks to sell 50% of itself to the Korea Development Bank and China’s Citic Securities fell through because both bidders said Lehman’s asking price was far too high, given the distressed state of its assets.
You get the feeling Lehman Brothers is like a man so desperate for cash that he’ll sell certain vital bodily organs for cash. The commercial real estate portfolio is valued at US$40 billion. The wealth asset management group, US$10 billion.
The trouble is there aren’t many organs a man can really do without. You can part with a kidney and maybe some bone marrow, or other bodily fluids. But try to donate your brain, your heart, or your lungs and you’ll soon be a corpse, where the sum of the parts are worth more than the whole. Once people realise that, Wall Street is going to look a lot like this.
Markets and Money