Raise or Fuld?
Uncovering another dire quarter, with $5.6 billion in net writedowns and a worse-than-expected $3.93 billion loss, Lehman Brothers said it plans to sell a majority stake in its investment management division and spin off commercial real estate assets. The Koreans aren’t buying — they officially ran for the hills overnight — and Lehman also moved to dump other assets before announcing its results. It said in a filing it was chopping its stake in BHP Billiton almost in half, to below 3 percent. Back when Korea Development Bank was still interested in a Lehman stake, the word was that the two sides were having trouble agreeing on a price. Analyst Dick Bove said the bank was refusing to take what it believed were fire sale prices for its key assets. The question now is whether the offer of a majority stake in its investment division represents a change of heart — one that could smack of desperation for a market all too ready to believe the worst.
Other deals of the day:
* Coca-Cola plans to seek approval under China’s antitrust law for its $2.5 billion bid for top domestic juice-maker China Huiyuan Juice Group, the final obstacle to what would be the largest foreign takeover of a local firm, Huiyuan said.
* Infosys Technologies , India’s second-largest software services exporter, said it was confident its bid for Britain’s Axon Group would succeed and there was no rival bid on the table at the moment.