Lehman Brothers Case Study

This is an ongoing post to study what exactly happened to Lehman Brothers.

Sep 15, 2008: Lehman Brothers was the 4th largest investment bank in the world. Why was Hank Paulson smiling the day Lehman Brothers was declared bankrupt? Did he play a role in the denial of US Govt support for Lehman Brothers at a critical juncture? Nobody knows that. But what one surely knows is that Hank Paulson is ex-Goldman Sachs and Goldman Sachs is a long term beneficiary of Lehman Brothers fall. Agreed that Lehman had much higher leverage (about 40x) than its peers (20x), so their balance sheet was much higher in risk. But if US Govt could support other large financial organizations like AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Max, maybe they should have offered some “short term support” to Lehman Brothers too. In credit crunch situation, time is all that one needs, and with a bit of time, Lehman could have got a chance to get sell some of its assets to raise capital or raise fresh capital from its long term investors globally. The US Govt’s/ Fed’s attitude of “not a single dollar to support you” towards Lehman Brothers was not logical and it harmed the global financial markets, including US economy.

Some people in Wall Street with influence over the US Govt and US Fed were thinking long term, and they saw a clear opportunity to eliminate one key player. Nobody puts such business strategy on power point slides. The timing was perfect, and when the economy picks up again, there will be one less competitor for the big deals. Think about it.

Barclays and Nomura bought valuable pieces of Lehman Brothers in the distress bankruptcy sale, and have made themselves stronger for the next upturn. Good show by them. They will be Goldman Sachs competition in future.

For information regarding the Chapter 11 Filing of Lehman Brothers Holdings, please visit www.lehman-docket.com

For information regarding the Chapter 11 Filing, please visit www.lehman-docket.com
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