Lehman Memo: A 'For Sale' Advertisement?

Lehman CEO Dick Fuld issued a memo yesterday that many people inside Lehman consider an advertisement for the firm to be bought possibly by private equity or possibly a bank — at a level above its current market price.

The memo is part rallying cry and part marketing spin, reminding people inside Lehman and potential suitors of the firm’s various accomplishments and overall value. (See video).

While the memo doesn’t explicitly state that Lehman is for sale, it does seem that Fuld and his senior staff are now shopping the firm given the document’s tone.

Here are some of the highlights:

- Fuld says that by end of the third quarter Lehman will reduce commercial and residential mortgage exposure by another 20% from what they’ve done already.

-- Fuld adds that his staff will "protect the firm from further market dislocations,” which could mean a sale of part or all of Lehman to private equity.

-- Fuld goes on to say that he will continue to manage the firm’s “capital structure, including potentially repurchasing our equity.”

-- Fuld says that “research analysts have estimated the Investment Management business alone is worth $8-$10 billion, which was the approximate market capitalization of our entire firm on Friday.”

This could mean that Lehman is also shopping its investment management business, formerly known as Neuberger Berman.

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