Force Fed

September 12, 2008

lehman1.jpgThere was a rumor that an announcement on Lehman was coming this morning at 6. Not that it would have taken a day-break jolt to get newsrooms and trading floors buzzing over the embattled investment bank – heck, the echo of the last two days will last for months. Bids are due later today for Lehman’s asset management jewels, but with the U.S. government now playing the part of the 800 lb gorilla in the room, the fate of the entire bank is much more in question than just its best businesses.

It’s unlikely the US government will want to offer more support to a Lehman deal than it did to Bear Stearns buyer JP Morgan. In fact, there is probably less appetite for a bailout now, given the opening of the Fed’s liquidity window to investment banks seems to have kept money markets calm this time around, though it clearly hasn’t saved Lehman. And at the end of the day, that’s really what the Fed is responsible for – keeping the system safe with lots of liquidity when necessary. So if there is nothing more on the table, is Lehman likely to see less than a $2 bill taped to its front door?

Other deals of the day:

* Deutsche Bank is poised to swoop on rival Postbank in a two-part takeover valuing the retail lender at roughly $13 billion, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

* Shenyang Machine Tool intends to proceed with the sale of a 30 percent stake to U.S.-based Jana Partners, a subsidiary of the Chinese firm said, denying a media report the deal was dead. 

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