Lehman seen looking to Asia

August 7, 2008

lehman.jpgBy most accounts, the sovereign wealth funds of Asia are licking their burnt fingers after picking up big stakes in sickly U.S. financials. So we read with interest a report in the NY Post that Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld has held talks with South Korean and other Asian investors about possibly raising more capital. Smell a little Déjà vu? This would certainly be a hard sell for Fuld and Co., but with the dollar showing signs of recovery, and a dearth of cheap alternatives, they could just be tempted to try to catch the proverbial falling sword yet again, further confounding the conservative investment strategies they’ve built up over the past few decades of wealth generation.

What would you call a midsize Chrysler/Nissan car – a Chryssan, a Nissler? Ok, so neither is particularly witty or catchy, but branding is probably not behind what the two automakers are up to. The Wall Street Journal reports the automakers will jointly produce midsize cars, after agreeing in April that Nissan would build a small car for Chrysler using the North American automaker’s design and Chrysler would build a new full-sized pickup truck for the Japanese automaker using Nissan’s plans. The two companies have since been discussing an agreement under which Nissan would produce midsize sedans that Chrysler would sell in the U.S. under its own name, the Journal said, citing people familiar with the matter. Chrysler is evaluating whether it makes financial sense to partner with the company, the paper said.

Other deals of the day:

* Montagu Private Equity has hired Morgan Stanley to look at strategic options for BSN Medical, a move which could lead to a sale of the business for up to 1.7 billion euros ($2.64 billion), a person familiar with the situation said.

* Germany’s Deutsche Lufthansa is interested in holding intensive talks over a stake in Austrian Airlines with the Austrian government, executive board member Stefan Lauer said.

* HSBC Holdings denied a South Korean media report saying it had agreed with U.S. private equity firm Lone Star to set a new deadline for a $6.3 billion deal for control of Korea Exchange Bank.

* Neptune Orient Lines said it could finance a multi-billion dollar bid for rival Hapag-Lloyd, in spite of a 19 percent profit fall due to higher costs and tougher conditions which prompted investors to dump its shares.

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